Comedy Culture Theatre

Murder for Two | Review

By Emily Stanton

★★★

The clue is in the title when it comes to this murder mystery comedy musical. Two actors smartly play all 14 characters in the two hours of Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair’s Murder for Two. The story is a classic whodunnit about a famous author, Arthur Witney, who’s murdered at his surprise birthday party.

Although set in a small American town, the performance feels small and cosy as it mirrors the mysteriousness and darkness of an English country-house murder. It feels like Cluedo has come to life. Jeremy Legat manages to swiftly change between all the suspects effortlessly with only the help of a few simple props. He is challenged with English to American accents, and quick exchanges between a husband and wife. Ed MacArthur on the other hand plays an enthusiastic police officer who is longing to impress his boss and gain a promotion. His lovesick character helps move the play along at it’s fast pace and its enjoyable to watch him hurry to save the crime before his boss arrives as there is a countdown throughout the play. He makes juggling his lines whilst playing piano seem so effortless.  

However, whether the boss is going to be arriving soon or not seem to be the tensest part for the most part, as there is a lot of focus on the productions comedic value. If you’re expecting an edge of your seat level of scare, then this isn’t it I’m afraid as the actors were met with constant belly laughs from the audience. Legat’s camp characters and the quick wit of the jokes really tickled the room. MacArthur and Legat engaged with the audience well and allowed for participation when they acknowledged hecklers and invited a gentleman on stage to help them play a part.

At times it did feel like there was a lot going. There are a lot of themes in the play that often don’t feel necessary or come off as a little confused. For example, it’s supposed to be a 1940s detective tale in the style of Agatha Christie, but a mobile phone is a featured throughout. The quick introduction of all the characters in the beginning can be a tad confusing at first, but this is quickly rectified when MacArthur’s character is bought in to interact with them all.

Nevertheless, I think that MacArthur and Legat are really entertaining to watch and you can’t help but smile all the way through. You almost forget that you’re waiting for a crime to be solved by the end of it, but it doesn’t seem to matter much. The quick character changes from Legat keep you on your toes and supply a constant stream of laughs, whilst MacArthur’s officer is pleasantly charming with an ending that warms your heart.

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