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Open: 02/20/13- Close: 03/01/13 Jonbenet Ramsey! Murder Mystery Theater!
Reviewed for By: Joseph Samuel Wright


In this year’s Frigid Festival, Medium Face Productions (Bayside the Unmusical: The Saved by the Bell Musical) presents JonBenet Ramsey: Murder Mystery Theater, a comedy musical that promises to solve the JonBenet Ramsey case once and for all! The ribald, raucous show was created by Medium Face, “a gaggle of professional writers, directors, and grabby weirdos,” and stars Mary Crosbie as Mom Benet, Bob McSmith as Dad Benet, Tobly McSmith as Burke Benet, and April Kidwell as Cougar Jones.

In JonBenet Ramsey: Murder Mystery Theatre, the audience peeks into the Ramsey residence in the hours before Patsy Ramsey called 911 to report her daughter’s abduction. The family is riddled with vices ranging from alcoholism to incest, and in their cartoonish dysfunction they are able to agree on two things: one of them must have killed JonBenet, and none of them should be blamed. Meanwhile ambitious journalist Cougar Jones searches the family’s trash, septic tank, and house itself in search of a lead that will break this career-making story! Sprinkled with acoustic songs about Ramsey traditions, molestation, and journalistic ambition, JonBenet Ramsey: Murder Mystery Theatre doesn’t pull its punch(lines). No topic is off limits, with the kooky cast cracking wise about poo, pedophilia, cancer, cover ups, and every off-color element to this crime.

More akin to sketch comedy than a musical, the structure of the script serves more as a hanger for a series of bawdy jokes and comedic songs than a sturdy narrative, but as the purpose of the piece centers on laughs more to than story, it’s easy to chuckle and ignore the scanty plot. The actors nail their schtick, all hilariously awkward and unhinged, but Kidwell stands out both vocally and in the range of her performance. While all four performers play to their own strengths and succeed in comic coups, Kidwell comes across more as an actress whereas the other three are more comedians. This un-qualified difference paired with her character’s role outside the world of the family trio contributes to her prominence.

JonBenet Ramsey: Murder Mystery Theatre is a bold, tasteless, funny bit of sketch comedy that serves its hilarity with a side of songs, and at just under an hour ends before the joke gets old.

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