Review: Preview of Murder
By Heidi W. Moore
and what's it to ya? That's detective fiction for you, and fans
of this special brand of pulp will get a good dose in Preview
of Murder, opening this week at the 2001 New York International
Fringe Festival in New York City.
© Old School Theatre
private detective, a Hollywood starlet has-been, a former leading
man, a movie mogul, cops and bellhops place this piece of 1949
theater squarely in the heart of detective fiction, and it's
a genre that absolutely fascinates director John Peterson.
don't let the flying bullets and dead bodies distract you from
the real excitement of this play: the language. Producer Dawne
Seifert's adaptation of the short story by Robert Leslie Bellem
loses none of the tongue-in-cheek style that characterized the
work of a pulp novelist best known for creating the legendary
character of "Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective" from
The Dan Turner Stories of the late 1930s and early 1940s.
should pay particular attention to Bellem's fondness for alliteration,
and the powerful use of architectureor more accurately,
lack thereofthrough language. Mansions and hotel lobbies
can be made distinct within the dialogues that create the scenes
and make set design almost unnecessary; indeed, elaborate technical
structure would detract from the snappy banter and there's the
danger our fast-paced friends would get hung up on it.
Photo © Old School Theatre
real mystery with Preview of Murder is author Bellem's
intent: since very little is known of his personal life, it's
impossible to be certain if hardboiled was truly his method.
We are encouraged to explore the play as if it is serious, but
it may not be.
of Murder is presented as part of FringeNYC, a twelve-day
international event with more than 180 emerging theatre companies
and performing artists. Each year FringeNYC is held on the Lower
East Side of Manhattan, in 20 venues within 15 blocks of each
other. All of them are easily accessible by mass transit, and
within walking distance of parking. The festival runs Friday,
August 10, through Sunday, August 27, from 12:00pm to 2:00am
of Murder will be performed at The Mazer Theatre, 197 East
Broadway, from August 14 - August 25. To learn more about Preview
of Murder and old school theatre company, visit www.oldschooltheatre.com,
or call 212.636.9417. For tickets and information on any of
the events, call 212.420.8877 or 1.888.fringenyc, or visit their
site at www.fringenyc.org.