Breaking from its typical offering of a British farce to jump start the year, Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre, 9301 Michigan Rd., Indianapolis, opens its 2017 season with Shear Madness, running through January 29.
Originally adapted from Paul Portner's work Scherenschnitt, the play evolved over time to settle into its current format. A blend of an improv troupe's comedy, a whodunnit, and a roast of politicians, local events and nearby towns. No one and nothing is off limits as the butt of jokes.
Set in a stylish hair salon, in this case a Mass Ave spot, a retired concert pianist is murdered in her apartment above the unisex salon. Customers, owner and staff are all suspect, with two detectives grilling them, and the audience, for answers to the homicide.
The interactive performance derives much of its rhythm, jokes ~ and ending ~ from the audience, creating a different show nightly.
Stand out performances (besides the audience), include Suzanne Stark portraying Eleanor Shubert, the wealthy socialite from the town of Carmel. Stark's style of snootiness stops short of annoying, instead heightening the hilarity of the goings on.
Jeffrey Stockberger, as homicide detective Nick O'Brien, is best at interacting with the audience and keeps everything flowing smoothly.
Garnering most laughs, definitely, is Daniel Klingler's portrayal of shop owner Tony Whitcomb. Using every mannerism of the stereotypical gay hair stylist, Whitcomb sets the tone for the performance and never lets up.
I strongly recommend getting tickets immediately as this show was close to sold out capacity and an immediate success with the audience. Also, for more frivolity and collaboration with the on-stage antics, get seats close to the stage.
Bottom Line: Beef and Boards' Shear Madness is certain to sell out numerous shows with its cutting wit and ever-changing finale.
Elizabeth J. Musgrave writes two magazine food and wine columns: Destination Dining and White Linen & Corks,and is a travel, features, food and wine writer, travel and food photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as the Travel & Leisure Adviser on FOX59 Morning News Show. She also is a speaker, consultant and trainer for hospitality, travel and luxury businesses, P.R., and tourism groups, as well as a radio and television guest and host. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.