NY Theater Review by Marcina Zaccaria
Gilded Balloon presents Murder, Margaret, and Me at the New York International Fringe Festival.
Murder, Margaret, and Me follows the career of Margaret Rutherford, as she prepares to play Miss Marple. This one-woman show is performed by Janet Prince, who received great notices for her performance of the British acting legend, Margaret Rutherford. This production is smartly directed by Stella Duffy. The play started out at the Edinburgh Festival in 2012, and enjoyed a successful tour of the UK. It was also invited to the Ambassadors Theatre in London’s West End as part of the 60th anniversary of The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie.
Prince is a charismatic performer. She previously appeared in Cavalier for M’Lady at Jermyn Street Theatre West End, Medea at the Riverside Theatre, and Uncle Vanya at Classic Stage. Her film work includes the BFI award winning, L’Azzenza, and Edge of Heaven for Hartswood Films, the producers of Sherlock Holmes.
Prince’s work in Murder, Margaret, and Me defines storytelling. On the small stage at the Abrazo, she looks like an English rose. She holds each beat with grace and refinement. Her performance is sometimes devilish and crafty, but she really allows the danger of the Agatha Christie story to escalate. The drama is gruesome without being foolhardy.
Prince uses each part of the stage to her advantage. She is also in great voice. In the tiny Abrazo theater, Prince’s performance looks more expressionistic than larger than life. There is a fantastic moment at the end of the play where she wears a cape. Large shadows upstage create a portrait that is compelling. Lighting Designer Marie Yokoyama does a fine job in heightening the drama. Sound Design by Martyn Duffy is flawless and sophisticated.
Playwright Philip Meeks, a writer for both stage and screen, penned Murder, Margaret, and Me. His previous credits include Elsewhere and I Met a Man Who Wasn’t There, which toured the UK. Although it was enjoyable to hear about the Agatha Christie drama, the beat-to-beat script could have been differently sculpted. The drama seemed a bit drawn out, and perhaps the action of the play could have unfolded in more digestible bits.
It’s good to see this international flair, however, at this year’s New York International Fringe Festival. The play was produced by a company in Edinburgh, Scotland, called Gilded Balloon. They have offered live entertainment for over 27 years.
The 18th Annual New York International Fringe Festival is running from August 8th-24th. It is a multi-arts festival that features drama, comedy, dance, and more. Moses, the Author is playing at the Abrazo Interno at the Clemente, located at 107 Suffolk Street. Tickets can be purchased online or in person at FringeCENTRAL at 114 Norfolk Street, between Rivington and Delancey Street. Additional information can be found at www.FringeNYC.org.