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Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013

Alchemist searches for the killer in ‘Closing Night’

Immersed in mystery

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The Alchemist Theatre plays host to a classy and immersive dramatic murder mystery game this October with Closing Night. The stage is everywhere as audience members circulate throughout the ground floor and basement of the building, looking through clues on the trail of a murder that occurs before the final night of a show at the Alchemist.

Those into solving a mystery should have a good time here. There are hidden passages, twisting corridors and that rare opportunity to interview spirits of the dead in an effort to identify the murderer. But there’s a lot of fun even if you’re not particularly engaged in the mystery itself. The Alchemist has put together a really, really good cast for the show. Libby Amato is exquisitely engaging as Bella, someone with an active interest in tracking down a specific ghost. Michael Keily holds an irresistible persistence as paranormal expert Alexander, a comically dramatic egotist with a Southern accent.

The characters populating the rest of the story are given brilliant contrast, from Liz Whitford’s attractive, duplicitously superficial sweetness as Lucille to Carole Alt’s cleverly understated performance as a humble, low-key actress willing to sacrifice everything for art. Anna Figlesthaler is crisp and precise as the style-over-substance playwright in love with the idea of being a writer.

A group as talented as this is great fun to see moving about from room to room; occasionally one might find oneself the sole audience member to an interaction. Walk into a room and you might come in on a scene already in progress. It’s tantalizingly immersive.

Alchemist Theatre’s Closing Night runs through Nov. 2, at 2569 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Bay View. For tickets, visit thealchemisttheatre.com.

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