reviewed by Ken Klingenmeier

ATI’s Murder for Two, which opened last night in Carmel IN, is a surprisingly unique production: two talented performers, collaborating on stage for 90+ minutes, offering a cleverly silly musical murder mystery – one playing a police detective wannabe, the other portraying a literal room full of people, both playing the piano.

David Corlew (at the piano) and Adam Lasalle combine talents in ATI’s production of “Murder for Two”

Adam Lasalle, as Officer Marcus Moscowicz and David Corlew, as everyone else in the room, offer a tour-de-force rendition of Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair’s awesome creation. Directed by Tony Clements, with musical direction by Stephen Goers, the adept duo exhibit crisp and precise comedic skills and over-the-top musical talents for the cartoonishly hilarious, madcap paced, endlessly ingenious musical comedy.

Officer Moscowicz is first to arrive, with his silent partner Lou, at the site of a murder. Famous novelist Arthur Whitney, upon entering his surprise birthday party, is shot dead. The ensuing investigation has Moscowicz tracking down clues and questioning the party attendees, which include Whitney’s outlandish wife Dahlia; a world-famous dancer, Barrette Lewis; a psychiatrist, Dr. Griff; as well as an overly eager college student, a couple bent on arguing, a fireman, and a 12 member boy’s choir. This cast of characters is employed throughout to allow for maximum zaniness and invention.

The action couldn’t be any more outrageous, as the twosome team of actors do fantastic work – Lasalle as the eager to be promoted officer (with a subplot of never wanting to fall in love again), and Corlew – whose nonstop blur of characterizations is aided by a vest full of props and the concentration abilities of a meditation practitioner.

David Corlew, as world famous dancer Barrette Lewis, entices Adam Lasalle, as Officer Marcus Moscowicz – who never wants to fall in love again, in a scene from ATI’s “Murder for Two”

Bottomline: the satisfying combination of a brilliant script, a driving tempo and pace, plus two outrageously skilled performers who can do comedy, sing with verve, AND are excellent pianists, makes this a must-see entertainment.

Murder for Two continues at ATI’s Studio Theatre in the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel through February 16th. You can get information about the schedule and tickets by calling 317.843.3800 or by logging on at http://www.atistage.org .

  • photos provided by Actors Theatre of Indiana