It’s Showtime for May 17, 2013 Compass – Bob Feldheim
Alhambra’s “Murder Among Friends” Loretta Swit is Stunning as the Femme Fatale In this Light-Hearted Look at Murder
Did you ever think that murder could actually be fun – like a spirited darts competition, three-legged race, or a game of badminton? Well, that’s the general impression one comes away with at the Alhambra during the current run – through June 9 -- of “Murder Among Friends” (love ‘em to death): Fun.
This two-act murder “mystery” by Bob Barry, directed by Ron Nash and starring Loretta Swit, is not to be taken seriously. Sure, there are threats, guns, shootings, blood, but so what? It’s all played out with such a bright sophistication, you relax, lean back and enjoy.
Particularly regarding Ms. Swit, remembered fondly by those in the audience 40-plus years of age, on M*A*S*H as the sex goddess of a U.S. Army medical unit in Korea: Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan. She drove the men on base crazy with desire there; she continues to do so here, as Angela Forrester, in the swanky New York duplex she shares with actor-husband, Palmer Forrester. (The scenic design by David Dionne is top-notch.)
Ms. Swit is everything you can hope for in this role – gorgeous, menacing when not scared-to-death, quick to fall into a loving embrace with a current lover. She moves dynamically, speaks her lines convincingly. She’s clearly the central character and star. The audience loves every minute she’s onstage, which is practically the entire time.
Initially, the plot is straightforward enough. Angela and Palmer’s agent, Ted, are lovers. They plan to have Palmer murdered during a contrived robbery on New Year's Eve. Sean Coughlin, who plays Ted, is perfect in this role – handsome, dashing, desperately in love with Angela, and anxious to get the bloody deed done. Tony Lawson portrays the egotistical, self-centered, posturing Palmer – you can see immediately why he deserves to be done in. .
But, and not to spoil the fun, Ted and Palmer are lovers. Whoa! They have an identical plan to have Angela murdered. We’re off!
The dialogue crackles with wit and laughs. . . the basic elements for an evening of pure, sophisticated entertainment.
Rounding out the cast are David Marmanillo as the hired killer, and David Titus and Krista Severeid as congenial friends who just happen to get entangled in all the murderous nonsense.
“Murder Among Friends” opened in 1975 at Broadway's Biltmore Theatre, with Janet Leigh as Angela.
I am compelled to once again remind the reader that the new Alhambra, under a management team headed by Craig Smith, has not allowed the quality of its total presentation to slip. The dinner menu remains spectacular, served graciously by a dedicated staff. The Alhambra -- theatre and dining -- deserves its success.
Ponte Vedra Recorder columnist Leigh Cort enjoyed a night out at the Alhambra! Check out what she had to say about her experience.
Page 1 of 3
Congratulations to the staff and to Executive Chef DeJuan Roy for their part in being named Best Dining Destination.
Our very own Craig Smith was awarded the Best Local Hero award for his part in reviving one of Jacksonville's most iconic attractions.
Get our email newsletter