Murder, Made Funny

Review of Murderers by Emma K., age 16

Sarah Rudinoff as Minka in Murderers
Photo by Chris Bennion

Murder may not be your typical topic for a comedy, but it is certainly entertaining. Currently playing at Seattle Repertory Theatre, Murderers, by former actor Jeffrey Hatcher, is a compilation of three monologues, each told by an unlikely murder suspect residing at the Riddle Key Retirement Community. Steven Dietz creatively directs Sarah Rudinoff, Mark Anders, and Joan Porter Hollander – a talented and seasoned trio. Murderers comically examines the lives of Gerald, Lucy, and Minka – three people who committed crimes to, as they put it, serve justice.

Each character takes the audience through the events leading up to their crime and its aftermath. Mark Anders plays Gerald, a young man who marries his girlfriend’s mother so that they can inherit her millions after her imminent death. Without revealing too much of the entertaining plot, suffice it to say that their marriage and life at Riddle Key holds many unexpected and hilarious twists. Joan Porter Hollander, as the foul-mouthed and senile Lucy, provides a bit of heart in her somewhat convoluted, yet ultimately touching and funny story of infidelity at an advanced age. Finally, Sarah Rudinoff, playing Minka, a Riddle Key employee, tells the tale of her obsession with murder novels placed on Broadway (such as “Pippin Must Die!”) and how their influence results in some homicides of her own.

Presented in the smaller venue at the Rep – the Leo K. Theatre – Murderers is expertly lit by Rick Paulson and includes excellent sound design by Eric Chappelle. Susan E. Mickey’s costumes are appropriately simple. The set, designed by Carey Wong, is fashioned to look like a golf course, with a few tables and chairs here and there and multiple palm trees. Though it helps to transport the audience, the set is excessive and draws attention away from the performances.

Mark Anders was convincing as Gerald and clearly had an aptitude for the more “performed” and theatrical bits of his piece. Jeffrey Hatcher’s writing can be convoluted and this element is the most visible in this first monologue. As Lucy, Joan Porter Hollander was enjoyable, but parts of her monologue subjected her to playing the stereotype of a crude older woman rather than a completely original character. Her piece visibly dragged and the story – while funny – was far-fetched. Finally, Sarah Rudinoff, my personal favorite, was hilarious and created an ease and rhythm with the audience that is crucial to stand-up comedy. Steven Dietz’s direction was well done – monologues are completely reliant on the performer and can become boring, but Dietz’s staging kept things moving.

Be warned, Murderers has moments of very crass humor. It also may be better suited for older audiences since most of its jokes and content resonate with their generation. On opening night, the older audience was enthusiastic and seemed to enjoy the show very much. Applause and long moments of laughter were frequent, after the especially good jokes.

Murderers is not for those people who do not enjoy raunchy humor, but is a delicious treat for lovers of a good mystery.

Emma K.
October 10th, 2007

Note: This production contains coarse language.

Seattle Repertory Theatre
Through November 4th
More info and show times:
Seattle Rep’s Ticket Office: 206-443-2222
Ticket Office Hours: Daily, noon – performance time

Seattle Rep is located at 155 Mercer Street, on the North edge of Seattle Center. It is served by buses 1,2,3,4,13,15,16,18,45, 74 and 85. For bus times:

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