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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

Audience participation: You nail the culprit in 'Shear Madness'

Posted: 25 May 2014 09:00 AM PDT

One murder, four suspects – and the audience gets to help in determining the guilty party.

TOMMY can't take it any more – it drives him mad, this incessant piano practising coming from the floor above his hair salon.

All he wants is for it to stop so he can trim, cut, shave in peace, air his opinions without being interrupted, tell his stories to all and sundry.

So what if Isabel Fernandez upstairs is a world-famous pianist – a hairdresser as charming and flamboyant as he deserves some quiet so he can shine the way he was born to.

"My character dreams of being a big star entertainer. It's challenging to play him because I'm not like him at all! He always wants to be the centre of attention, he is the life of the party," says Qahar Aqilah, who plays Tommy.

But does this flamboyant personality – however frustrated he is with the tinkling of the piano coming from the floor above – really have it in him to murder Isabel in return for the blissful silence he craves?

Well, Tommy is really at the mercy of the audience in this interactive whodunit. They can interrogate him, grill him, question him till he breaks.

But he is not the only one who is a suspect.

There's also Chanel (Marina Tan), the beautician working with him, Datin Violet Schubert (Junji Delfino), the socialite, and Eddie (Na'a Murad) the antiques dealer – all of whom are in the salon (and thus not allowed to leave) when the police (Jason Leong and Phoon Chi Ho) burst onto the scene.

Shear Madness – based on the play Scherenschnitt written by the late German playwright and writer Paul Pörtner in 1963 to use as a study of how people perceive (or misperceive) reality – incorporates improvisation, comedy and audience participation in the crime-solving process.

"It's a strange play, very unusual and a little odd – but it works," says director Richard Gardner of Gardner & Wife Theatre, presenter of Shear Madness.

"The detectives round up the four characters and then involve the audience who are encouraged to ask questions, point out mistakes, and interrogate them. As you go along, you find out that each of the four characters have a motif to kill Isabel."

Throw in a pair of scissors (hey, it's a hair salon after all), a criminal record and shady slinking around the toilet, and there you have it: an evening of laughs, madcap improvisation and mystery, spontaneous humour and you – a member audience – playing detective.

Even the interview this writer had with the actors gave no clue as to how this murder mystery and comedy will play out on stage.

"My character is very close to Isabel, so she doesn't like it when Tommy starts gossiping about her and putting her down. But it's a complicated relationship that she shares with this pianist, so there is a lot of drama," says Tan, who describes her Chanel as someone who "grew up in a rough part of town" but is slowly making her way up in life.

"Chanel has aspirations, she's not a bimbo ... but there's still some social graces that she lacks. She's fiesty, good company and very likeable, but I wouldn't trust her with your bank account number or husband because she's quick in seeing opportunities in life and isn't afraid to take advantage of that."

Watch carefully for clues and suspicious behaviour while the actors ham it up on stage, because during the play, and also during the intermission, the police will mingle with the audience and note down your observations and opinions.

Shear Madness, having played in theatres around the world for over three decades now, is unique in that the play is adjusted to the city in which it plays – hence, the setting this time around is Happy Gardens in Kuala Lumpur.

The play will also include references to current affairs and popular culture.

Come for the mystery, come for the comedy, come for the witty lines – but above all, come to get your finger in the pie.

Shear Madness is showing at PJ Live Arts Theatre at Level 2, Block K, Jaya One, Petaling Jaya, Selangor from May 28 to June 1, and June 3 to 14. Shows are at 8.30pm (Tuesday to Friday), 3pm and 8.30pm (Saturday) and 2pm and 7pm (Sunday). Tickets range from RM50 to RM90. For more info, visit www.gardnerandwifetheatre.com or www.pjlivearts.my or email boxoffice@pjlivearts.my. For ticket purchase, go to www.tix.my.

Win a chance to watch magic or a horror film

Posted: 25 May 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Tune in to Red FM or 988 to win tickets to watch illusionist Peter Marvey or Thai horror flick Make Me Shudder 2.

Peter Marvey is a magician and illusionist, who is best known for his combination of sleight of hand and large-scale stage illusions. He studied and practised seven years to create the illusion called "Dream Flying" which made his name in the magic business and eventually became his signature piece.

Marvey, who was the first magician who changed costume in mid-air, developed an illusion which allowed him to fly over the audience in 2002. In 2005, he designed a flying illusion for the singer, Ayumi Hamasaki.

Aside from flying illusions, he has also created many levitation systems. These include the levitation of spectators live on stage and floating objects which can be witnessed at close range. Other grand illusions in his shows include being cut in half at waist and shortening his legs to less than half the normal length.

Want to watch Peter Marvey's performance at Resort World Genting? Two lucky listeners who tune in to 988 Morning Up (weekdays, 6am to 10am), will walk away with a pair of VIP tickets each.

Over at Red FM, you stand to win VIP tickets when you tune in to WTF with JJ (weekdays, 6am to 10am) and the Red Fix with Terry and Azura.

Besides the chance to watch Peter Marvey's magnificent performance, winners are also entitled for a two-day/one-night stay at Genting's First World Hotel. If you miss your chance winning the tickets on air, you still stand the chance to win them online by logging on to www.red.fm and www.988.com.my.

Love horror flicks? Then tune in to 988 as the station is giving listeners the chance to watch the Thai horror movie, Make Me Shudder 2 at GSC Mid Valley on June 4.

To win four screening passes to the movie, be the first caller through to answer a simple question during Music Gets Crazy with Athena and Hau Min (weekdays, 12.30pm to 4pm). You can also win the screening passes by logging on to www.988.com.my.

Red FM is giving out tickets to American alternative rock band Vertical Horizon's performance in Malaysia on June 3. The band is best known for a string of hits including You're A God, Everything You Want and Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning). To win four Rock Zone tickets worth RM238 each, tune in to the Red Rave (weekdays, 10am to 2pm) and Red Fix (weekdays, 8pm to midnight) and be the first SMS through with the correct answer.

On Red Rush (weekdays, 5pm to 8pm), Adam C is giving out RM100, sponsored by Red Bull, in Battle Of The Sixes contest. All you need to do is name six things in six seconds. Tune in to Red FM on 106.4FM in Ipoh and 92.8FM in Johor Baru.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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