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Getting Away With Murder



Getting Away With Murder, New Millennium Theatre Company, at Boxer Rebellion Theater. This nonmusical by longtime collaborators Stephen Sondheim and George Furth closed after 17 performances on Broadway in 1996. Billed then as a "comedy thriller," it has a clunky script that isn't particularly funny or suspenseful. The first act is modeled on the classic whodunit: seven people meet at a group-therapy session only to discover that their esteemed doctor is dead. Since he gave keys to the room only to these seven, they know the murderer is one of them. By intermission we know who it is, and the second act focuses on whether or not the rest of the characters can put aside their differences and issues long enough to figure out who the murderer is and save themselves.

Mystery lovers will be left wishing the writers had paid less attention to devising character names that reflect the seven deadly sins and more to fleshing out the characters and building suspense. Too few of the actors develop their roles beyond the single dimension of a sin. The strongest turns are from Libby Piper, who has fun with the lascivious Dossie Lustig; Martti Nelson, who pushes the petty envy of Nam-Jun Vuong; and Leslie Kerrigan, who fully inhabits the arch Pamela Prideaux.

Although a misfiring murder weapon and sloppy fight choreography do garner some laughs, this play ought to have been permanently dispatched when it flopped on Broadway.

--Jenn Goddu

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