I was surprised at how much joy and sparkling there is in The Real Housewives of Murder, a sketch-flavoured Fringe Festival pastiche of the genre. After a shocking and brutal accident leaves a houseboy dead, two shallow besties try desperately to cover it up and keep it together before the guests arrive for their tiki gala. It’s a tasty little show, complete with tossed drinks, stilted catch-phrases, and — for the grand finale — a teeth-and-claws catfight which sends furniture flying.
Co-creators Jacqueline Twomey and Devon Henderson are tuned into the conceits and tropes of this peculiar type of “real” television, and have a lot of fun with it: their characters constantly try to one-up and shame one another, drunk on attention and validation even when there are no cameras to mug for.
If there’s a problem, it’s that these two are simply too nice. Neither of them quite conjures up the utter hellfire-and-bitchiness which is at the core of the “Real” Housewives phenomenon. They’re mean to each other, but it’s the meanness of two dear friends, not the gonna-smash-your-face-in nastiness. Maybe it’s just too difficult to work up to that kind of drama in a theatre show which has to run for an hour?
The music is a special treat, reminding us how absurd it is to score this show like it’s Shark Week when it’s actually just the petty squabbles of the idle rich. And Twomey and Henderson, both in the Second City Conservatory, have obvious chemistry and a kinetic energy which never comes across as overly-rehearsed or staid. If you’re a fan of the genre, this is definitely worth a $10 ticket.
- The Real Housewives of Murder is playing until July 11th at the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace. (16 Ryerson Ave., near Bathurst and Queen)
- Tickets are $12 in advance, $10 at the door. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), from the festival box office down Honest Ed’s Alley (581 Bloor West), or from the venue box office starting one hour before the performance. Venue sales are cash-only.
- Be advised that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and latecomers are never admitted. Set your watch to CBC time, and arrive a few minutes early to avoid disappointment.
July 05 at 08:00 PM
July 06 at 04:00 PM
July 07 at 10:15 PM
July 09 at 08:00 PM
July 10 at 05:15 PM
July 11 at 08:00 PM
Photograph of Jacqueline Twomey and Devon Henderson by Raul Delgado.