October 25, 2014
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Hilarious murder-mystery parody at 2nd Story
Don Fowler

Want to laugh until your sides ache?

Get over to Warren’s 2nd Story Theatre and catch jack Sharkey’s “The Murder Room,” which is even more delicious after seeing Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap,” done in repertory over the hot summer months.

Sharkey is described by essayist Eileen Warburton as “probably the most prolific and produced American playwright that you’ve never heard of.” He wrote nearly 100 plays in 27 years and wrote under four pseudonyms. His plays have been widely produced by community theatres. Sharkey is a master of the English language, providing his characters with witty, sharp, rapid-fire lines that require perfect comic timing to pull off.

Director Ed Shea has kept the hilarious satire moving at the speed of a locomotive, and his actors rise to the occasion, from the opening dialogue between Edgar and Mavis Hollister to their final moment together.

This is one of those plays where the less the reviewer tells you, the better. Just know that a main character has disappeared and is assumed dead. An inspector and a constable try to solve the case with very little help from the suspicious wife, ditzy daughter and her fiancé and interfering housekeeper. There’s a spooky cellar with “The Murder Room,” a secret hideaway, a poisoned cat, a changed will and lots of finger pointing. You’ll enjoy the happenings as much for the clever language, hilarious moments and zany characters.

Jim Sullivan, a long-time veteran of 2nd Story, is gifted with perfect comic timing and makes the most of it. Jeff Church as the quirky inspector gets laughs by just walking into the room. Sharon Carpentier is most convincing as the sinister new wife…and she gets to wear all those gorgeous costumes by Ron Cesario.

The only thing missing in Trevor Elliott’s terrific set, also used for “The Mousetrap,” is the snow. Keep your eyes peeled for a “mystery guest” at the window.

Susan Bowen Powers makes the most of the funny lines given her, while Ashley Hunter Kenner gets a chance to play a really dumb woman who hasn’t got a clue, and Tim White plays off her perfectly.

Put it all together and you have two hours of hilarity, with all of the actors never stopping to catch their breath and the audience giggling all the way home.

“The Murder Room plays through Sept. 1, alternating with “The Mousetrap.” You must see them both. Tickets are $25. Call 247-4200 for reservations and dates, or go online at boxoffice@2ndstorytheatre.com.


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