Murder For Two – REVIEW

Murder For Two – REVIEW
Image: Maverick Newman, Gabbi Bolt in MURDER FOR TWO. Photo: Phil Erbacher

It’s a classic Christie-styled murder mystery: there’s a surprise party, the birthday boy is shot in the forehead in the dark, there is a handful of suspects and a tenacious police officer-cum-detective. It’s thrilling, it’s suspenseful, it’s hilarious, and it is all acted out by two incredibly talented performers — Gabbi Bolt and Maverick Newman. 

Gabbi Bolt, Maverick Newman PHOTO Phil Erbacher

Written by Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair, Murder For Two is a fast paced, sketch comedy styled tow-hander filled with one-liners.  The premise is simple enough. Dahlia Whitney is the wife of succesful author Arthur Whitney and has arranged a surprise birthday party for him. The guests include pretentious prima ballerina Barrette Lewis, eccentric German psychiatrist Dr Griff, endlessly quarrelling couple Murray and Barb, and Arthur’s college student wannabe detective niece, Steph. There are also three young members from a boys choir who make an unexpected “appearance” further into the plot. 

Maverick Newman PHOTO Phil Erbacher

Newman plays all the guests. He does’t use props or any device other than a change in his voice and demeanour to indicate each character, yet he is so convincing that with each manifestation you can practically “see” the new personality. The guests arrive one by one and hide behind a curtain. 

Arthur arrives and is immediately shot dead before anyone can yell “surprise!”.  

Police office Marcus Moscowicz, played by Bolt, arrives with his partner, Lou, whom we never hear or see but whose presence and speech are implied by Bolt and Newman. 

Gabbi Bolt in Murder for Two PHOTO Phil Erbacher

As Marcus interrogates each of the guests, all now suspects, secrets are revealed, flirtations are explored, and traitorous fingers are pointed. 

It’s 90-minutes straight of unbridled zaniness. None of the songs will ever find themselves covered by a talent show contestant, but they serve their purpose as comedic punctuation. Much of the humour in the show is self-referential, riffing on the quick change of characters, the fact that almost everyone and everything that is happening is unknown to the audience until Newman or Bolt happen to allude to it. 

Maverick Newman, Gabbi Bolt in Murder For Two PHOTO Phil Erbacher

Newman is utterly brilliant in the multitude of roles. He has an excellent sense of comic timing and nuance, and beautiful rapport with the audience, giving them a frequent knowing smirk. Bolt, in her first professional stage role, is also very good and clearly has a great working relationship with Newman. 

There are a lot of extended laughs in this show, it is very, very funny.  Word of advice: go to the toilet before you take your seat.   

Until September 3

Hayes Theatre,  19 Greenknowe Avenue, Elizabeth Bay

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