Monday, August 11, 2008

Murder of the Seas (The Jazz Gallery)

BOTTOM LINE: zany, tongue-in-cheek, tons-of-fun!
This show is bound to put you in a good mood...if you straight-up love watching acting gymnastics, the Olympics ain't got nothin' on this guy.

Murder of the Seas is a one man show written by and starring Pierre-Marc Diennet, and tightly directed by Jason Schuler. It's the story of Chester Fields, a hapless insurance salesman who finds himself in the middle of a madcap murder mystery. From the minute you walk into the Jazz Gallery performance space, you enter the world of the play - a, dare I say, fishy second-rate cruise ship, complete with red velvet draped walls, a rather beat-up looking grand piano, and those party favor leis you get at luao themed class reunions. Though the space is small, the lighting and sound create distinct atmospheres throughout the show, ranging from the onboard casino, to the ship's bridge, to the cruise director's -ahem- private suite.

The real show, of course is Diennet himself as he whirls through one vibrant character after another - including, but by no means limited to, Rastafarian room service, magical maintanence workers, royal bar keepers, washed up dames, and tall guys named Sven. It's truly a tour-de-force. Adding his own voice to the mix is Dave Murelli Jr., who underscores much of the play, and provides a few choice soundbyte gags. The story itself - some deliberately convoluted thing about ships docking in Maine and a missing husband- is pretty inconsequential next to the telling of it. The play runs an hour and a half, and Diennet puts on such a show that you'll more than feel like you've gotten your money's worth.

Murder of the Seas is playing at the Jazz Gallery, 290 Hudson Street between Spring and Dominick. Show times: Wednesday, August 13th at 3:45pm; Sunday, August 17th at 7pm; Friday, August 22nd at 10pm; Sunday, August 24th at noon. For more info and tickets visit:

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