Monday, February 11, 2008

'Murderers' failed to intrigue

It's easy to doubt oneself as a critic--especially when your opinion flies far from what everyone else is written or is saying. It takes a fair amount of ego to be able to stand one's ground and say, "No, this really is what I think about the show."

BoarsHead's Murderers is one of those shows. I agree with my fellow critics (Kate O'Neill, Mary Cusak, and Don Calamia) that the show was very well performed. All three actors did fine jobs on their performances. However, my overall feeling leaving the theater was that the show was wasting the talents of three excellent actors, all of whom deserved better material than what they were given.

About ten minutes into the first scene, I caught myself wondering when the exposition was going to end and when the story was going to begin. I eventually caught on that all I was going to get that night were three storytellers telling us a story to which they already knew the ending. There could be no suspense on the part of the characters--not even when the story lent itself to suspense.

Nor did the three stories have anything in common other than the setting and a few intriguing twists that would have been more appealing in a short story or a mystery magazine than played upon a stage. There were always chuckles of appreciation when the name of the doctor was mentioned. I would hazard that was because he was the only unifying character that appeared in all three stories. It gave people something to tie the scenes together.

Each story was bloated with extraneous detail and descriptions of conversations that were irrelevant to the plot and served only to stretch out what became a very long night at the theater. Yes, the actors did deliver their lines well and Carmen Decker was as deliciously funny as she always is. However, why doom such actors as Decker, Tobin Hissong, and Laurel Merlington to delivering a series of one-liners, grabbing for laughs in stories that were ultimately darkly morbid?

As interesting as the stories might have been to read (especially if they had been pared down) and as skilled as the actors were in performing them, it was not an experience that I would care to repeat nor that I would recommend to others. It simply lacked the focused cohesion that can make a story compelling and entertaining.

My still-to-blog list:
  • seen/not seen at Ruhala Performing Arts Center
  • One-year anniversary of NEA Institute
  • Richard Dreyfuss World View lecture
  • Making this blog more of a conversation

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