Milwaukee Rep’s Raucous “Murder For Two” Brings Down The House
Reviewed By: Matthew Perta
Whoever would’ve thought murder mysteries – you know, those quiet little whodunits penned by Agatha Christie and the like, could be connected to music and laughter? Well, somebody did – a guy from Milwaukee with a passion for theater, Joe Kinosian, who, along with Kellen Blair, wrote a two-character musical homage to the genre called Murder for Two that recently brought down the house with raucous laughter opening night in the Stackner Cabaret of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater.
A sharp bolt of thunder literally shakes the audience to a standstill as Murder for Two unfolds with the death of Arthur Whitney, a mystery novelist. Police officer Marcus Moscowicz, played by Chicagoan Matt Edmonds, interrogates a bevy of wacky suspects – all played by Kinosian. Both actors bring well-honed comedic skills to their respective roles. Kinosian also displays keen versatility as an actor by portraying a plethora of male and female characters requiring voice inflections he pulls off brilliantly.
The piano also plays an integral role in Murder for Two, with Edmonds and Kinosian expertly tickling the ivories in entertaining solos and duets that are cleverly woven into the twists and turns of the murderous plot.
From the get-go this production of Murder for Two is exhilarating and uproarious, delighting the audience with charming songs, keyboard wizardry and nonstop laughter up until the murderer is unmasked.
It’s easy to see why Murder for Two won Kinosian and Blair Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Musical and has played to sold-out audiences across the country.
I give this production high marks for its energetic acting and dazzling musical performances, and overall for the creative ingenuity of Kinosian and Blair, but I still prefer my murder mysteries on the quiet side. However, if you need a good belly laugh lasting 90 minutes or so, Murder for Two is definitely your ticket.