Tag Archives: Ed MacArthur

Murder for Two

Murder for Two
★★★★

Watermill Theatre

Murder for Two

Murder for Two

Watermill Theatre

Reviewed – 4th February 2019

★★★★

 

“a high energy antidote to the gloom of both the season and of our current national politics”

 

Take two actor-musicians and ask them to hold the stage for ninety crazy minutes during which they will play thirteen different characters. Not just acting and singing, but also playing the piano, sometimes individually, sometimes collaboratively and sometimes even competitively. That’s the big ask for the latest show to galvanise the stage at Newbury’s theatrical gem, the Watermill Theatre.

Murder for Two is the work of Joe Kinosian (music) and Kellen Blair (lyrics). Conceived as a mad mash-up of (wait for it) Agatha Christie and the Marx Brothers, it offers a high energy antidote to the gloom of both the season and of our current national politics.

The show’s world premiere was at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre in 2011, when the production was awarded the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Musical in Chicago. It went on to tour extensively throughout the States and was first produced by the Watermill to much acclaim for its fiftieth anniversary season two years ago. In this amiable revival, Ed MacArthur as the Detective and Jeremy Legat as (all twelve) suspects return for a short season that ends on 23rd February. 

The pocket-sized Watermill pioneered mini-musicals, with a version of Cabaret for a cast of just eight in 1998, making the venue a shoe-in for pared down shows like this.

The plot concerns the murder of a great American novelist at his birthday party. Was it the work of his wife, the side-lined singer Dahlia Whitney, or of Barrette Lewis, the pirouetting English prima ballerina? Or was it the ten choir boys whodunnit? But all this is pretty inconsequential, since the story’s main purpose is to provide a peg on which to hang the prodigious talents of the two performers.

Jeremy Legat works his socks off as the suspects. Deft gestures, a few props and a lot of vocal talent keep his twelve characters entertainingly distinct. Ed MacArthur as the small town would-be detective Marcus Moscowicz is not quite his straight man, since he has his own share of daft quick fire comedy. The duo demonstrate immaculate timing, not least when an audience member sneezed at a critical moment. The performers simultaneously shot back a ‘bless you’ without missing a beat. At other moments the ‘fourth wall’ was broken again, with a running gag about phones going off and some other surprises.

If you’re in the mood for light-hearted fizz, there’s plenty of it in this sparkling show directed by Luke Sheppard, with musical direction by Tom Attwood and an impressively gloomy set by Gabriella Slade.

 

Reviewed by David Woodward

Photography by Scott Rylander

 


Murder for Two

Watermill Theatre until 23rd February

 

Watermill Theatre – winner of our 2018 Awards – Best Regional Theatre

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Teddy | ★★★★★ | January 2018
The Rivals | ★★★★★ | March 2018
Burke & Hare | ★★★★ | April 2018
A Midsummer Night’s Dream | ★★★★ | May 2018
Jerusalem | ★★★★★ | June 2018
Trial by Laughter | ★★★★ | September 2018
Jane Eyre | ★★★★ | October 2018
Robin Hood | ★★★★ | December 2018

 

Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com

 

Murder for Two
★★★★

The Other Palace

Murder for Two

Murder for Two

The Other Palace

Reviewed – 13th December 2018

★★★★

“a quirky show and perfect escapism”

 

I must admit, I do love a good “whodunnit”, so was excited to see Murder for Two at The Other Palace – even more so when I realised it was also a musical, to be performed by just two actors.

Before the show starts, it’s obvious from the set design (Gabriella Slade) that we are about to be treated to a murder mystery, with overflowing filing cabinets and photos of the suspects on the wall. A fog-like effect and dark colour scheme makes the set all the more atmospheric.

When famous novelist, Arthur Whitney, is murdered by a bullet to the head at his own birthday party, it falls to Officer Marcus (Ed MacArthur) to solve the crime. Now, here’s the interesting twist – the only other performer on stage (Jeremy Legat) plays all the suspects. The skill he brings to this is nothing short of excellent. He switches seamlessly from character to character, including the victim’s wife and niece, a doctor, and three young choir boys, to name a few. It’s honestly a joy to watch Legat’s skilled performances of the various suspects, which make for some hilarious, laugh out loud moments.

As if the acting abilities of the two performers weren’t enough, they also prove themselves to be talented pianists and singers. The pair take turns to accompany each other on an upright piano as they sing, sometimes singing and playing as a duo. The songs are largely entertaining and well-written and encapsulate the light-hearted nature of the show well.

Best described as a parody of both the Murder Mystery and Musical Theatre genres, Murder for Two is hilarious and fun. Directed by Luke Sheppard, the two performers are engaging and likeable from the outset and bring with them an abundance of talent. This festive season, why not treat yourself to a quirky show and perfect escapism from everyday life.

 

Reviewed by  Emily K Neal

Photography by Scott Rylander

 


Murder for Two

The Other Palace until 13th January

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Eugenius! | ★★★★ | February 2018
Suicide | ★★★½ | May 2018
Bromance: The Dudesical | ★★★★ | October 2018
The Messiah | ★★★★ | December 2018

Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com