“Murder for Two” – Arizona Theatre Company

Theater Review – January 5, 2015



Arizona Theatre Company, Center Stage, Herberger Theater Center

Phoenix, AZ

The predictably idiotic and nonsensically silly “Murder for Two” is remarkably unfunny and is one of the worst plays Arizona Theatre Company has ever presented.  What is so strange, is that this blandly uninteresting murder mystery spoof features two excellent farceurs playing all 14 characters but the pair are given such mundane, badly rehashed, and blantantly boring material that the 90 minute play seems to drag on for an eternity.  Audiences will quickly lose track of the wacky and irreverent plot as well as the convoluted and dull witted characters as it all meshes into blah nothingness.  Following the stupid plot that sadly attempts to spoof and ridicule the murder mystery genre will seem a waste of time.

Please don’t think this opinion is mine solely.  When the slim-witted plot ground to a conclusion, there was a mass audience exodus even though the actors still had an unexplained and unnecessary rendition of a closing song to complete.  The score of undistinguished tunes badly mocks a myriad of tired clichés from far better musical theater scores.  Murder mysteries are usually inventive, creative, and clever affairs that take often predictable plot turns and twists but make the buffoonery funny and inviting.  Not so with “Murder for Two.”

Joe Kinosian, who created the songs and co-authored the story along with the stupid lyrics of Kellen Blair stars in the local production as he did in the off-Broadway New York production.  Along with Ian Lowe, the acting pair are adept comedians but they require clever material to use their treasure trove of farcical skills.  Both actors bring quick wit and impeccable comic timing to the show and that certainly helps.

Scott Schwartz who staged the original production is on hand recreating his breezy New York production as are the original designers so the show, that doesn’t look too spectacular, does duplicate the original concept.  I thought New York theatergoers were far more sophisticated.  What seems most amazing is that the ATC engagement marks the kickoff of a production that will tour this dull piece across the country.

With ATC’s high ticket prices and the miserable downtown Phoenix parking situation, skip “Murder for Two.”  You certainly won’t laugh much.  “Murder for Two” continues through January 18.  For tickets, call the Arizona Theatre Company box office at 602-256-6995 or order tickets online at www.arizonatheatre.org.

Grade: D

One Response to ““Murder for Two” – Arizona Theatre Company”

  1. Kay butler said:

    Jan 18, 15 at 00:10

    Kudos to you! Best review that I have read of this play. I shall read all your reviews now.