Friday, November 23, 2007

'Business of Murder' is suspenseful and full of twists | www.azstarnet.com ®

'Business of Murder' is suspenseful and full of twists www.azstarnet.com ®:

Published: 11.23.2007

'Business of Murder' is suspenseful and full of twists

By Kathleen Allen

ARIZONA DAILY STAR

It's autumn in London, the early 1980s.

A man by the name of Stone has asked the police detective, John Hallett, to help set his son straight — he's selling drugs, and he's in serious trouble, says Stone.

And so begins "The Business of Murder," a suspense-filled story with more twists than San Francisco's Lombard Street.

"I love this genre," says James Blair, who is directing the production for Invisible Theatre.

"I like the old English mysteries that are a little claustrophobic. Something's familiar about them, but something's off."

And there's definitely something off about this Richard Harris story. And compelling — it ran in London for nine years.

That doesn't surprise Blair.

"It's just very intelligently written," he said in a recent phone interview. "It's very literate, and so driven by the three characters. And once you get a sense of a character, then it shifts."

Those shifts keep Blair on his toes.

"I have to highlight all the clues," he said. "I have to make sure the audience sees all the clues — but not so much that they figure it out."

The London production coaxed all sorts of "wows" out of the hard-to-please press there.

"Welcome to a thriller that achieves it all," gushed The London Times.

"The most ingenious murder mystery to have appeared on the London stage in a decade," crowed the Daily Mail.

And this from the Sunday Mirror:

"The best stage thriller for years, it is sharply written … and kept me guessing to the end."

With a play with such high expectations, you've got to have a cast to carry it off.

He's got one, said Blair: Maedell Dixon, Harold Dixon and Douglas Mitchell, all actors with impressive professional theater résumés.

While you can expect to enjoy yourself at the production, don't expect an epiphany, said Blair.

"A mystery is just a good time," he said. "They don't make political statements or anything like that. For two hours, you can forget about everything else and enjoy a good mystery. And the script has enough twists in it, I don't think anyone will be able to figure it out."

Preview

"The Business of Murder"

•Presented by: Invisible Theatre.
•Playwright: Richard Harris.
•Director: James Blair.
•When: Preview is 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, opening is 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Regular performances are 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 16.
•Where: Invisible Theatre, 1400 N. First Ave.
•Tickets: The preview is $16; regular performances are $22-$25.
•Information: 882-9721.
•Running time: 2 hours, plus one intermission.
•Cast: Maedell Dixon, Harold Dixon, Douglas Mitchell.
•Et cetera: Tickets are half-price one-half hour before a performance.

● Contact reporter Kathleen Allen at kallen@azstarnet.com or 573-4128.