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Mitchell is a must-see in Invisible Theatre's whodunit | www.azstarnet.com ®

Mitchell is a must-see in Invisible Theatre's whodunit www.azstarnet.com ®:

Published: 11.30.2007

Mitchell is a must-see in Invisible Theatre's whodunit

By Kathleen Allen

ARIZONA DAILY STAR

Pay attention.

Pay very close attention.

In the first scene of the first act of "The Business of Murder," which Invisible Theatre opened Wednesday, about everything you need to know to solve the mystery is revealed to you.

Still, we're willing to bet you'll miss it.

That's what makes this genre, and this Richard Harris play, so much fun — it keeps you guessing, even as the clues are hidden in plain view.

The play — which IT first staged 17 years ago — is a pretty standard cat-and-mouse story.

Mr. Stone lures the detective, Hallett, to his apartment under false pretenses. And he lures Dee, the married Hallett's lover, there, too. It seems he's setting them up, but for what? And why?

Playing Stone is Douglas Mitchell, who is fairly new to the Old Pueblo.

He is an impressive talent. He gave his Stone a jittery nervousness that made you suspect, and in an instant turned that into a steely resolve that made you frightened. And the man has a way with an English accent.

He stole this show, and that's saying a lot — his co-stars in the three-person play were the talented husband-and-wife team of Harold and Maedell Dixon.

Harold Dixon's detective was arrogance with a working-class English accent, and Maedell Dixon's Dee was a bundle of hysterical nerves that just got worse as she drank more and more.

But in the second act, the Dixons both built to an emotional peak too quickly. That robbed the climax of the play of much of its intensity and drama. Harold Dixon, particularly, was at such an impassioned level that when it needed to be higher, it had nowhere to go.

James Blair directed this production with an eye toward clarity. And while it dragged a tad in the first act, it quickly picked up the pace in the second.

"The Business of Murder" is a fun whodunit-and-what-was-dun play. And while it might not have the oomph it could have, it does have Douglas Mitchell. And that's reason alone to go see it.

review

"The Business of Murder"

•Presented by: Invisible Theatre.
•Playwright: Richard Harris.
•Director: James Blair.
•When: 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: $22-$25.
•Information: 882-9721.
•Running time: 2 hours, plus one intermission.
•Et cetera: Tickets are half-price a half-hour before a performance.

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