Friday, January 10, 2014

Review: (Toronto) Killer Business (Next Stage)

Within the Within
by Beat Rice

In a metaphorical sense, Theatre is a killer business. Anyone who is involved either as a participant in a production, or audience member, knows that when something goes wrong and people in the vicinity are upset, things can quickly spiral out of control, and into dramatic chaos. 

Killer Business-The Musical is a satirical show-within-a-show musical that unabashedly pokes fun at theatre people and the drama behind the drama. Director Geoffrey Whynot even stages the action behind the curtain by actually flipping the red velvet set pieces to face the other way around. The characters are indeed caricatures, which works with the style. We are introduced to a high-strung company, all who have personal issues with each other which result in…well, problems with the show. It is known from the first scene when the detective takes the stage that their limits are pushed until the point of a murder, and that’s all I’ll give away.  

There is a little bit of imbalance between the voices of the singers, at times it was hard to hear them over the accompaniment when they sang close to the edge of their range. Other than that, the show is well cast, everyone looks their part and plays them without holding back. Especially hilarious is the desperate producer Tony (Ryan Rogerson), who wishes he were a Jew, and the Stage Manager/Administrative Assistant/Swing, Cleo (Christy Adamson) who wishes to perform.

This is a fun whodunit musical. The lyrics are hilarious, the dance numbers are clumsy (on purpose), the costumes are showy, and the story moves rapidly. There are countless naughty jokes, (some of them corny, others just down right well-timed), so this may not be one for the really young kids. 

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