Unapologetic silliness — much of it quite funny — runs rampant through the musical whodunit The Unusual Suspects, from the script's plethora of hit-or-miss gags to the non sequiturs dotting lyrics set to tongue-in-cheek melodies.
Written and composed by Derek Sonderfan, who provides piano accompaniment and also plays a role, and giddily directed by Gregory Cicchino, the show transpires in a mental hospital. A murder's been committed, and the suspects are six patients, each with his or her own flavor of insanity. When the police ask each patient to recall the murder scene, the script goes into flashbacks, each progressively nuttier. The mayhem is punctuated by some eight musical numbers, which are dragged precipitously into the plot.
Appropriately, the cast consists of nine uninhibited zanies, any one of whom could easily slip into a Marx Brothers or Monty Python movie. While the show's anything-for-a-goofy-laugh philosophy may put off more serious-minded audiences, others will find this epidemic of craziness infectious.
Produced by Aaron Grant in association with Beyond the Wall Productions as part of the New York International Fringe Festival
at the Players Theatre, 115 MacDougal St., NYC.
Aug. 11-25. Remaining performances: Tue., Aug. 14, 10 p.m.; Wed., Aug. 15, 6 p.m.; Tue., Aug. 21, 11:15 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 25, 2 p.m.
(212) 279-4488 or (888) 374-6436 or www.fringenyc.org.