This farcical two-man musical is highly entertaining and showcases quadruple threat performers; with superb acting and singing, genius piano playing, but questionable dancing.
The only stereotypical trait of Murder for Two is that it’s traditional ‘whodunnit’ – everything else is completely original and fresh. The story begins with Arthur Whitney being murdered at his own surprise party, all of the guests then automatically become suspects. Inspired by Agatha Christie and the Marx Brothers, this is a musical like no other on stage at the moment.
It is a highly challenging show, written by Joe Kinosian and Keller Blair. It holds such detail and skill that only a small handful of actors would be able to pull it off. The whole thing is completely ludicrous, a hilarious script coupled with catchy songs. Fortunately both Jeremy Legat and Ed MacArthur are both talented enough to do this musical justice.
Although, this relentless absurdism can become somewhat tiring, and with only two men on stage the story feels slow in act one. The pace quickens in act two and the plot becomes more intriguing. However, a show this deeply stylised is definitely not for the mainstream audience, and its quirky traits mean you will either hate it or love it- fortunately for me it was the latter.
Legat plays all 12 suspects throughout the show, including a prima ballerina, an elderly wife, a three-boy choir and an argumentative married couple. He performs this all with great clarity and at no point are you confused as to who he is playing. His singing is strong and he commits to every moment he is on stage. MacArthur also brings an exuberant energy to the performance. While he has the task of playing just one character, he still has his work cut out for him and performs vigorously. Both have great comedic timing and deal with the complicated show well, particularly when slight mishaps occur. The key feature of the show is that they both play the piano throughout and have no other accompaniment. It’s delightful to watch, as they push each other off the piano and smoothly continue playing. They even play together at times, both with fantastic vigour as their fingers jump up and down the keys.
One of my favourite moments is Legat performing ‘It Was Her’- a seamless duet sung by one man! He swaps voices effortlessly between his two characters, singing it all to a hat resting on an umbrella. It’s utterly bizarre, and the silliness of it is not to be taken too seriously. Especially when MacArthur starts to wrestle with the hat and umbrella to stop them from fighting, it’s a surreal moment that had me laughing all night.
However, at times the stage felt too small and the performers fumbled around their busy set. Both Legat and MacArthur are confident on stage, so handled these obvious blunders well. They manage to win over the audience so that these faults seem irrelevant, and the audience are in complete admiration at the complexity of the show.
Overall it is a highly entertaining night at the theatre, and a fantastic demonstration of skilled performers showing off their talents. Murder for Two is brilliantly absurd and should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Murder for Two is playing at The Other Palace until 13th January 2019. For more information and tickets, click here.