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A killer show

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Brianne Beck as Nicky in "The Smell of the Kill" Brianne Beck as Nicky in "The Smell of the Kill"
Winterport Open Stage presents murderous comedy

WINTERPORT Marriage can be murder. And as presented by one local theater company, said murder can be very, very funny.

Winterport Open Stage is presenting 'The Smell of the Kill,' a play by Michele Lowe and directed by Dominick Varney, through April 29 at the Wagner Middle School in Winterport.

Nicky (Brianne Beck), Debra (Jenny Hart) and Molly (Christie Robinson) are three women whose relationships with one another are built almost entirely around the fact that their respective husbands have been friends since college. The men meet up monthly for cards, cigars and dining room golf (no really) while their wives retire quietly to the kitchen for chat, cards and Chardonnay.

This month, however, things are different. Nicky's husband is under indictment for embezzlement, though that hasn't stopped him from squandering thousands of dollars on a new meat locker. Debra is trying desperately to keep her husband's real estate business afloat; she quit the game when she had kids, despite being far better at it than her mate. Meanwhile, Molly is feeling stifled by her husband's constant clinging neediness.

When 'the boys' take a tour of the meat locker only to get trapped by a malfunctioning door, these three ladies are confronted with a decision do they let their husbands out or do they just leave them be? Are their husbands really the only impediment to their happiness?

That might sound a bit dark, but make no mistake, this is undeniably a comedy.

The show is carried by the boundless energy of its cast. All three of these women are veterans of the local stage, and that experience shines through in all that they do. Beck's Nicky is a portrait of a woman pushed too far, a woman who believes her 'solution' to the problem at hand is both just and fair. Hart brings a quietly brittle desperation to Debra, a woman who gave it all up in favor of a man to whom she knows herself to be superior. Robinson informs her portrayal of Molly with an honesty that elevates a character that could have been shallow to someone with whom the audience can connect. And of course the laughs are there; these three are among the best comedic actresses in the area.

It's not easy taking such a seemingly heavy subject and mining laughs from it, but director Varney knows his way around comedy. He helps his cast find the moments of lightness within the context of this despicable deed without ringing false. The whirlwind action and frenetic pace create a world that seems much larger than the simple kitchen in which these people exist.

'The Smell of the Kill' isn't a perfect show; frankly, it's not particularly well-written and some of the plot points and situations border on the absurd. However, Varney and his trio of actresses make it work, turning an at-best mediocre script into a solidly enjoyable evening of theater.

It's fun and funny, featuring some of the best talent the area has to offer. Winterport Open Stage has long had a reputation of producing strong, entertaining shows; 'The Smell of the Kill' is just one more in a long line of good works presented by WOS.

So head on out to Winterport and take whiff for yourself.

Winterport Open Stage will be presenting 'The Smell of the Kill' through April 29 at the Wagner Middle School in Winterport. For more information, visit their website at www.winterportopenstage.org.

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