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Mary McDonald Kerr Shines In MCT’s ‘The Detective’s Wife’

One woman mystery

Oct. 3, 2013
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In Keith Huff’s The Detective’s Wife, now playing at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Alice Conroy is a recently widowed framing shop owner determined to find out who killed her detective husband. An avid mystery novel reader, Alice is thrust right into the middle of her own. Is her husband’s death a random act of violence? Premeditated? Part of a larger conspiracy?

No spoilers here. What does keep us engaged through the one hour and 45 minutes (including a 15 minute intermission) is the stellar performance of Mary McDonald Kerr as Alice in this one-actor show. Commanding a stage for the entire length of time is a tricky business. But McDonald Kerr’s Alice keeps us watching and waiting and wondering if this is “real” or if she is imagining all that happens over the ensuing performance. And McDonald Kerr is, by turns, as brave and as vulnerable as any amateur sleuth in this situation. Even dropped lines only added to her credibility as the grieving wife-turned-determined-detective, making her performance all the more “real” in what is surely one of her best roles to date on Milwaukee stages.

Director Jim Tasse maintains a taut balance between building suspense and creating air pockets of comic relief as the story unfolds and ultimately folds in on itself.

Despite the pat ending, which ties up everything a bit too neatly, The Detective’s Wife reminds you to be careful of what you seek. You might very well find it.

The Detective’s Wife runs through Oct. 13 at the Broadway Theatre Center. For tickets, call 414-291-7800 or visit milwaukeechambertheatre.com.


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