‘Bloody Murder’:Die Smiling

(Top L-R) Lisa Barnes (Jane), Garrett Hols (Charles Pomeroy), Jeffrey Terry Sousa (Major Quimby), Kevin Keaveney (Devon Tremaine), (Bottom L-R) Therese Olival (Emma Reese), Stacy Ray (Lady Somerset) perform in MVT’s Bloody Murder.

(Top L-R) Lisa Barnes (Jane), Garrett Hols (Charles Pomeroy), Jeffrey Terry Sousa (Major Quimby), Kevin Keaveney (Devon Tremaine), (Bottom L-R) Therese Olival (Emma Reese), Stacy Ray (Lady Somerset) perform in MVT’s Bloody Murder.                                                                    Photo: Malie Leinau

The story was a surprising and intriguing delight, there wasn’t a weakness to speak of in the entire cast, and the interpretation was so wonderfully in tune with the writing that it’s hard for me to say which actions were written in the script, which ones were acting choices, and which ones the director (Elitei Tatafu Jr.) himself implemented. This show is a wonderful ball of chaotic joy, and I not only laughed, but at one point I even guffawed (a truly rare and often embarrassing action). In fact, I had such a wonderful time that I’m writing the review summary at the beginning in the hopes that you’ll stop reading this and just go and see the show. For those who are still unconvinced or incurably curious, continue reading.

I walked into “Bloody Murder,” not knowing what to expect. I had heard that it was a mystery farce, but beyond that, I’d avoided hearing anything about it. One of the greatest pleasure I take from mysteries (even the farcical kind) comes from the discovery and surprise I feel as the tale unfolds. Even the most casual mentioning of a favorite character can sometimes diminish the experience. This review therefore, will be on the unspecific side.

The show had a bit of a slow start, and there is a clear point in my mind when things became irrevocably interesting. However, before the show took off there was something very interesting I noticed. I felt a slightly disconcerting feeling of disorganization. At first this was a bit of a concerning point, as I’ve often seen promising plays get mired down by loose characters and overabundant focuses. It became apparent though as the show continued, that the chaos is actually the story’s greatest strength. My mind didn’t have a moment to rest, I was constantly on the edge of my seat, wondering what was going to happen next. There were times when I thought the show was getting lost in itself, but actually, I was the one who was lost, and the show was guiding me to somewhere I’d never thought to go. The actors and directors have to be given a lot of credit for keeping the audience grounded with their convincing and consistent comedy.

The part of the performance I’m most afraid of ruining is the wonderful characters and sub-characters. So, to avoid that, I’ll just throw out a few, specific, but contextless words of praise. The screaming was the most hilarious and horrific I’ve ever been witness to in a theater. The quasi-racist chinese gibberish was among the most wonderfully incomprehensible and beautifully needless. Also, as a truly rare treat, the malt-thick accents are comprehensible. I wish I could say more, but I will have to leave some of the mystery. I’m not sure if the casting director was brilliant, or if MVT just lucked out, but the acting was top notch.

It is quite unfortunate that mystery, a genre identified by surprise and not knowing, has become quite formulaic. However, this show doesn’t follow a formula. Even though it’s a farce, it doesn’t even follow the formula of going in the opposite direction of the formula. This show is deep in the most shallow of ways, and I cannot express how much fun I had. If “Bloody Murder” doesn’t make you crack an unbreakable smile, there would be few greater mysteries.

“Bloody Murder” will be playing at Manoa Valley Theatre until Sunday, May 19.

“Bloody Murder” has been held over through Sunday, May 26.

Tickets may be purchased by calling the box office at (808)988-6131, visiting MVT during business hours, or through its online box office. Further details about showtimes and upcoming productions may be found on its website.

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