Live theatre doesn’t get enough coverage, so I’ve decided to take it upon myself to cover some of the entertaining and out of the way theatre going on in and around Los Angeles.
The first of these gems of the LA theatre world is called, ‘Death, Lies, & Alibis’ presented by Improvatorium at Theatre Asylum on Santa Monica Boulevard. This unique show takes the audience into the world of Agatha Christie, famed murder mystery novelist, in a completely new and original way. Instead of seeing a straight-up performance of an adaptation of one of Christie’s works; this talented group of players makes the entire show improvisational. That seems like a bit of a far-fetched concept to wrap one’s brain around, but it really, really works well.
Before the show and then at key strategic moments during the performance, the audience is asked to volunteer information that effects which direction the story will take. This information can be something as broad as the name of a town, or as specific as the ladies’ downstairs toilet!
The actors don’t even know who the murder victim is until they are randomly chosen by a combination of drawn numbers and audience participation. The story starts, and the events unfold, part from the minds of the actors (which often border on deliciously twisted) and part from the loudest member of the crowd.
At some point the murder actually takes place, and the show then becomes a matter of finding out how all of the exceptionally unique characters connect to one another, where each person was at the time of the murder, and of course eventually lead to the identity of the killer.
This particular improvisation troop is composed of people from all walks of life, and different parts of the entertainment industry. Many of the group are recognizable actors from stage and film, and some even have extremely recognizable voices (if you are a fan of cartoons and kid’s shows—which I am).
Each of the actors has created a specific type of character from the world of Agatha Christie, and then changed that character per circumstances in each performances. The show is like a cross between a straight-laced period drama murder mystery, and a Monty Python skit. The actors have fantastic timing, extremely sharp wits, and an abundance of imagination. More than once I found myself still laughing past the point of a joke because it was so WRONG (but in a good way).
This show is the perfect thing if you are looking for a night of theatre that is just pure unadulterated fun with no apologies needed for bizarre behavior (onstage that is). The run time of each performance varies, but expect about an hour and a half to almost two hours for a show. The admission price is very reasonable, and the theatre space is nice and cozy, and puts the audience in a position that makes the action of the play extremely accessible.
You can catch ‘Death, Lies, & Alibis’ alternating Thursdays at 8:30pm June 18th, July 2nd, 16th, and 30th. Theatre Asylum is located at 6320 Santa Monica Blvd. Hollywood. For ticket reservations email: DIRECTOR@IMPROVATORIUM.COM
So, if you’re in the LA area, or live in town make sure to check out the show and leave with your face aching from laughter!