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by Rebecca M. Alvin

A group of friends are gathered in the dark at the home of accomplished American novelist Arthur Whitney, waiting for him to arrive so they can jump out and yell, “Surprise!” But when the moment arrives, rather than the celebratory shout, we hear a gunshot. The lights come up and it’s clear someone has murdered Mr. Whitney, shot him in the forehead, causing him to fall to the ground in a perfect outline of all of his novels, which he was, for some reason, carrying with him. Shortly thereafter, officer Marcus Moscowicz (Sam Krivda) arrives on the scene to do some detective work while waiting for the real detective to show up. Here’s his chance to make a name for himself and earn a promotion.

This is the nutshell outline of Murder for Two, but what this exceptionally funny musical murder mystery is really about is an absurd, energetic performance with two actors, Krivda and Matthew McGloin (and an appearance by local actor Dick Morrill) portraying 13 characters in a campy sendup of the murder mystery genre. To be fair, it is really McGloin who plays all of these characters, with Krivda the straight man for the mayhem and chaos that surrounds him. But both actors also accompany themselves and each other on piano, and it is their perfect comic timing interacting with one another, under the direction of Sam Scalamoni, that lights up the evening.

This is a high-energy work of comic brilliance that is sure to please anyone coming to see it. Any age. Any gender. Any anything. It is pure fun, the perfect antidote for our troubling times.

Sometimes we tend to underestimate the talent of comic actors, particularly when they are deliberately performing in over-the-top, absurd works. Here, the incredible talents of McGloin and Krivda, as well as the sharp writing of Kellen Blair (book and lyrics) and Joe Kinosian (book and music), and Gary Adler’s musical direction take us through a 90-minute (no intermission) madcap comedy with such a diverse range of characters, from the 12-member boys’ choir that only has three precocious members to the psychotic ballerina to the young Steph, who’s just recently completed her thesis on “How to Assist in the Investigation of a Small-Town Murder.” It’s ingenious, playful, and will have you laughing from start to finish.

Murder for Two is performed Tuesdays through Saturdays, 8 p.m., at WHAT, 2357 Rte. 6, Wellfleet, through July 27. For tickets ($25 – $39) and information call 508.349.9428 or visit what.org.

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