A mystery play and a comedy. An interactive entertainment
full of improvisation. An adaptation of a 1963 German play and now the longest
running theatrical in venues throughout America. At FST, it's also loaded with
local jokes and references as well as audience volunteers providing clues to
the murderer. Upstairs of the mod, fully working (as demonstrated) Shear
Madness beauty shop wallpapered with palm fronds and décor of lime green and
purple against white, murder comes to Isabel Czerny. Someone has stabbed the
landlady, a once famous soprano, in the throat with scissors. Because she had
phoned police about possibly being blackmailed, a lieutenant and his assistant
are on the scene to investigate the fatal crime.
There's reason to suspect everyone who's been in the shop
except for short crucial moments, since all had motives. First enlisting
onlookers' observations immediately through intermission, Officer Nick O'Brien
(Timothy Goodwin, deftly assuming and keeping authority) next uses audience
help reconstructing all that happened before the homicide discovery. He's also
assisted by Nick Caruso's jovial Mikey, who reports findings from headquarters.
The spotlight is perpetually on Michael Kevin Baldwin as
ferociously fey shop owner Tony, always ready with a pun or a barb as loud as
his fuschia tee and sneakers. Beautician Barbara may be cunning under the brash
bimbo exterior assumed by Juliana Black. What did handsome, tailored Joseph
Ditmyer's Eddie Lawrence really do when he went to a rest room and returned but
without staying for a haircut? To whom and to what purpose did customer Mrs.
Shubert (Barbara Bradshaw, intriguing) make a secret phone call?
In between considerable laughs, the entertained join the
entertainers and---capped off by a vote that determines the murderer---a good
time is had by all. Because the vote can change, so can the end of Shear
Madness each performance. Depending on its popularity, FST may also extend the
performance schedule. Judging from audience reaction on press night, all facets
of the entertainment will be in evidence beyond originally planned.
Designers to be commended are: Lauren Feldman, Set;
Robert Warren, Costumes; Bruce Price and Matthew Klein, Lighting. Forrest
Richards is Production Stage Manager.
Running time: two hours.
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