Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Murder at The Howard Johnson's"

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entire contents copyright 2007 by Tony Annicone

"Murder at The Howard Johnson's"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The current show at the Newport Playhouse is "Murder at the Howard Johnson's". The show is a light fast pace suspense-comedy about a love triangle between a husband, Paul, his wife, Arlene and their dentist,Mitchell, at the Howard Johnson's Motor Inn. It is a three scene play which takes place at Christmas, July 4th and New Year's Eve and its many twists and turns during this mixed up mayhem keeps the audience in stitches all night long. Director/producer Matt Siravo keeps the show moving along at a rapid fire pace and gives his performers a lot of sight gags and shtick to do, giving it the necessary ingredients for a hilarious night of comedy.

Jason Heywood plays Paul, the car salesman who Arlene wants to divorce one minute then loves the next minute. He can't believe what's happening and allows himself to be tied up to a chair, then in another scene he runs around on the ledge of the motel with a pillow. Jason is hysterical when he finally climbs back into room after being on the ledge by crossing around the bed and furniture while still walking as if he is still out on the ledge. Another funny moment is when he finally realizes that he has bird poo on his shirt. Jason also eats KFC chicken constantly in this scene while hiding in the closet, waving a gun in the air and spouting lessons he learned in his self actualization classes. His heart attack scene is a hoot because it doesn't end the way you think it is going to, leading the audience into gales of laughter. Jason steals many scenes in this show with his comic antics and one of his funniest lines is "Love conquers shit." He really shines in this hilarious role.

Patty Mott plays Arlene, who has her car salesman husband and dentist boyfriend chasing her throughout the show. Arlene is a dim bulb who can't chose who she wants to be with which leads to thoughts of murder. Some of her funniest moments include her dressing in a blond wig pretending to be a bimbo, pretending to make love on the bed, crawling under the bed and starting to make love with one of her lovers and kissing her lover behind her husband's back after the dentist spills champagne on Paul's crotch. Patty delivers the goods as this kooky off balance woman and obtains many laughs along the way.

Jonathan Perry plays the skirt chasing dentist, Mitchell. He is very funny while seducing Arlene and plotting against Paul while saying love conquers everything as well as when he spills champagne on Paul's crotch. Jonathan ties up Paul with Paul's tie and his tie, makes a noose for the gallows and runs around the ledge in his boxer shorts. He also gets a dose of Novocain in the butt which makes him limp around the room. One of his funniest moments is when he puts lipstick on perfectly to kiss a scarf, making it a laugh riot. Sandra Nicastro plays the funny maid who changes the holiday decorations during the scene changes while dancing around the stage to the music. Missy Castro is the stage manager of the show and Fred Davison built bay window for the set. The delicious food before the show is prepared by Sue Raposa and there is an after the show cabaret. So for a very entertaining evening of fun and merriment be sure to catch "Murder at the Howard Johnson's".

"Murder at The Howard Johnson's" (2 March - 29 aPRIL)
102 Connell Highway, NEWPORT RI
1 (401)848-7529

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide