Orange County Theatre Reviews

Written by Daniella Litvak 

 

“…the play is the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscious of the king.” —Hamlet, Act II Scene ii.[1]

 

Alex Dennison is a playwright. One year ago his leading lady turned fiancé was murdered. Naturally, he reunites the suspects under the guise of rehearsing for his new play, but his true purpose is to reveal the killer of Monica Welles. How does Alex’s investigation fare?

rehearsalformurder

Courtesy: Creative Outlet of Orange

The pacing is not perfect. It’s also a little hard to keep track of each character or remember all of the hints in the beginning.Meanwhile the actual suspects, which should make the story interesting, are really the most boring part. The suspects are awkwardly placed stereotypes rather than actual characters, clearly created to arouse suspicion and tension in the worst way. There is zero believability to be found.  

 

Don’t be fooled, underneath the bad character development lies a truly engaging mystery. During intermission audience members were animatedly debating “who done it, and probably would have done so even without the lure of being entered into a raffle for guessing correctly. While the twist retroactively fixes some of the flaws, most of the play feels like a checklist that needs to be completed before delving into the interesting portions.  

 

The acting is competent. There were some really good moments. The cast interacted well with each other. It was obvious every participant was excited about what they were doing.  However for the most part the performers were too restrained and the dramatic  moments could have stood to be amped up.  

 

In spite of the smallness, the theatre didn’t feel cramped. My biggest issue was the view from my seat, I couldn’t fully see everything that was happening on stage to my left and when the action moved to my right, the cast was positioned uncomfortably close to the audience. Yet choosing to perform Rehearsal For Murder was an undeniably smart thing to do because the natural setting of The Creative Outlet lends itself well to being a theater in the midst of rehearsal. Still there was nothing particularly memorable or special about this show. A few outlandish props or costumes could have gone a long way towards remedying that and making the night feel more alive.

 

Overall not a bad production, but more risks could have and should have been taken.   

 

5.5/10    

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[1] Ok, using this quote from Hamlet isn’t the most original thing I could’ve done, but when you’re discussing this type of plot, it feels like an elephant in the room. Even the 1982 made for TV movie version of Rehearsal for Murder had to address it.

We reviewed this show a few months earlier. check out another review of this play put on by WCT :  Rehearsal for Murder  – Westminster Community Theatre 

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