2014 Next Stage Theatre Festival Review: Killer Business – the Musical (Torrent Productions Inc.)

Killer Business - the Musical

Murder mystery meets musical comedy and more in Killer Business at the Next Stage Theatre Festival

Torrent Productions’ Killer Business – the Musical had its world premier last night as part of the Next Stage Theatre Festival. I love a show that isn’t afraid to go for the cheap laugh. Add some hummable songs, a murder mystery, snappy dialogue, and I’m a happy girl.

Killer Business has everything you’d expect from a musical comedy — and more.

The plot in a nutshell – Producer Tony ( Ryan Rogerson) borrows money to mount a Broadway show but everything is falling apart around him. His “girl Friday” Cleo (Christy Adamson) takes care of all the details but really wants to be on stage not backstage. His stars are fighting, Stella (Tess Benger) the leading lady is a spoiled diva and Steve (Jason Adam Clarke), the leading man is confused. They’re married to each other but their marriage is falling apart along with the show.

Flo (Christina Gordon) the understudy is an aging star, Jason (Matthew G Brown) the stagehand is in love with the diva and Guy (Duff MacDonald) the costume designer is bitchy. Ooh (Caitlin Goguen) and Aah (Natalie Moore) two of the chorus girls are fabulous but the rest are wooden — they look great though.

Nothing goes right. In the middle of the show one of the cast drops dead. Enter Richard Gunn PI (David Keeley), a deadpan film noire detective.

The murder mystery was fun, I spent the first part of the show wondering who was going to die and the last part wondering who was the killer.

Ken MacDougall, Saul Segal, and Rob Torr have written a very funny show and haven’t hesitated to borrow from the movies — in a good way. The characters might be cliches but they’re fresh and funny. A couple of the characters weren’t at all what I expected, a delightful surprise.

The combination of cliche and unexpected paired with a talented cast and strong direction make for a really enjoyable show. The energy never lags. My only quibble — the piano was too loud.

I thoroughly enjoyed Killer Business. It was a fun diversion on a cold winter night.

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Photo of Jason Adam Clarke as “Steve”, Christy Adamson as “Cleo”, Natalie Moore as “Aah”, Caitlin Goguen as “Ooh” by © Liz Gareri Photography