Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Let's Murder Marsha"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2011 by Tony Annicone

"Let's Murder Marsha"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The current show at Newport Playhouse is "Let's Murder Marsha" written in 1984 by Monk Ferris that seems to be a blend of stage thriller and comedy which spoofs the world of campy murder-mystery novels. The heroine of this story is Marsha Gilmore, a ditzy rich Manhattan-ite obsessed with "sleazy slasher novels." The tale she is currently reading is just that, a book appropriately titled "The Creeping Slasher". Marsha is forced to read the novels in secret because her successful Wall Street banker husband, Tobias does not approve of them. On the evening before Marsha's birthday, an attractive strawberry blonde female stranger named Persis Devore arrives at their artsy New York City apartment to conspire with Tobias on some secret plans. Portions of the plan are overheard by Marsha and the Gilmore's faithful maid, Bianca. Influenced by her novels Marsha deduces that her husband is ready to bump her off and spirit away with his mysterious female associate. Should she run, should she hide or should she perhaps seduce her neighbor into being her ally in order to beat her husband at his own game"? Will murder be done or has Marsha's imagination gotten away with itself? Throw in Marsha's mother, Bianca's policeman boyfriend and you have the ingredients for this comic spoof that will tickle your funny bone.

The show is an energetic entertainment which marks the debut of Henryce Zannini as a director. She makes the audience have fun along with her cast with mistaken identities, mixed up bottles which may or may not be poisoned and the drinking of many martinis along the way. Henryce gives her cast some clever shtick to perform. Her hard working stage manager Jonathan Keene keeps things running smoothly all night long. Leading the cast is Amy Thompson as Marsha. She is a well seasoned actress and she is a hoot as the airheaded woman who loves to read these dumb books. Amy handles the enormous amount of dialogue with ease and as Marsha says "Don't spoil the ending". Her handsome rich husband, Tobias is well played by the debonair, Fernando Ramos who returned to the playhouse after 26 years to play this harried character. He does a topnotch job as this character. The gorgeous Katherine Coolidge tackles the role of the mysterious Persis who keeps the audience guessing what her true agenda is at the Gilmores. She wears a drop dead gorgeous, slinky red dress and wears her long hair down. Katherine sparkles as this mysterious woman. The nerdy neighbor Virgil is played by Richard Pacheco in his debut performance at the playhouse. One of the funniest scenes is the wrestling scene.

One of the biggest scene stealers in this show is the sassy maid, Bianca played superbly by Jessica Grossman. She is a hoot as she swills down martinis, instructs her employers on what to do, delivers zingers and has a very funny kissing scene with her cop, boyfriend, Ben Quade who is well played by Fred Davison. He gets to wave his gun around at the others trying to solve the mystery. Fred also constructed the gorgeous New York apartment set. Jessica also has a hilarious spit take scene when she tastes one concoction that tastes badly. Marsha's mother is well played by Nancy Greene who returns to the playhouse, having last appeared here sixteen years ago. She does a dynamite job as Lynette who overhears a few conversations and adds to the merriment of the evening. The show is a silly, fun filled romp that will leave you chuckling all night long. Try not to reveal the ending to spoil the surprising twist of the show. So for a delicious all you can eat buffet before the show, a comic spoof and then an entertaining cabaret afterwards, be sure to see "Let's Murder Marsha" in Newport.

"Let's Murder Marsha!" (25 August - 9 October)
NEWPORT PLAYHOUSE
@ 102 Connell Highway, NEWPORT RI
1(401)848-7529

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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