The unconvincing plot of this play is probably the reason it ran for only 17 performances on Broadway in late 1975 and early 1976. This was despite the stellar cast of Janet Leigh and Jack Cassidy.
Murder Among Friendsis currently being revived by the Actors Community Theatre of Davie under the direction of Christopher Harrington, who also created the effective set.
Despite an improbable plotline, the actors in this production have a jolly romp as one murder plot becomes entwined with another, and everybody alternately hates and loves one another. I was especially pleased to see Alvin Entin, who did such a great performance last year as President Hockstetter in the play The Best Man by Gore Vidal. (sunnewsmiami.com/entertainment/theatre/item/73-the-best-man)
Here he plays the central character, a man estranged from his wife, played by Robin Martino. He wants to kill her, and she wants to kill him. Between them is a man who apparently loves both of them. Michael Bienvenu plays the third point of the triangle and ends up being the one who takes a bullet. But who pulled the trigger? That action takes place offstage and leads to the second half of the play where things get really peculiar as the hired robber played by Bob Geller reveals his true identity.
The cast is rounded out by houseguests played by Jerry Weinberg and Dana Fredebaugh, who offer the only touch of sanity in an otherwise dysfunctional assemblage of people intent on murder.
All the actors turn in fine performances in this play that has some nice Guy Lombardo music as background since the play is set in New Years’ Eve as 1977 is about to begin. I will never forget it as I saw Lombardo just a few months earlier, and that was the last New Years’ Eve he lived to usher in.
Murder Among Friends shows what a high level of quality exists in our local theatres, and I recommend sampling this delicious offering.
The next performance hosted by ACT will be a one-man play An Evening with Tennessee Williams, written and performed by William Shuman. It will be staged Jan. 17 and 18.