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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

In Tandem's 'Murder' Makes for Delightful Farce

Theater Review

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In Tandem Theatre's energetic production of Murder at theHoward Johnson's is neither murder mystery nor satiric comedy, but rather a delightfully old-fashioned, three-character romantic farce close to the Marx Brothers school.

Arlene and her dentist lover, Mitchell, plan to kill her husband in a motel room. They decide to first try and talk him into a divorce, which they evidently hadn't considered as a prior option. When Paul the husband arrives to meet his wife, mayhem breaks loose as the audience soon realizes that there will be no killing in the near future, despite some hilarious near misses. A year later, murder is still being considered, but who will now murder whom? Act two even includes a homemade gallows.

To make the prevailing foolishness of Ron Clark and Sam Bobrick's sometimes silly but often refreshing little play work effectively, a lighthearted, extroverted cast is required. As Mitchell, Darrel Cherney's powerful baritone voice almost makes the lover seem too dominant, but Dylan Bolin as the husband brings enough sarcasm to his role to make the audience howl. Cat Yates as Arlene has enough stage savvy to more than hold her own against two such strong males, meeting the nonsense tit for tat and helping to make this silliness addictive and joyful.

Murder at the
Howard Johnson's continues through March 13 at the Tenth Street Theatre. For tickets, call 414-271-1371.