8 Women: A Karaoke Murder Mystery
posted by Heidi Vanderlee on February 26, 2008
It only plays once a month, but good things come to those who wait. Last night I checked out the February performance of 8 Women: A Karaoke Murder Mystery at Jimmy's No. 43, a cozy little pub boasting beer I'd never heard of in the East Village. I wasn't sure what to expect as I sat down in the tiny back room, a few feet from the modest stage, but as soon as the show kicked off, I spent the good part of 2 hours laughing my ass off.

Based on a French film by Francois Orzon, 8 Women is a classic whodunit with more than a few twists. Imagine the movie Clue, take away the men, and throw in a whole lotta scandal and some Britney Spears for good measure. The story centers around the murder of Marcel, wife of the pompous character Gaby, who finds it most inconvenient that her entire family (all of whom happen to be female) decide to gather for the holidays in the wake of this tragedy. Much of the script simply consists of letting the vastly different yet equally strong personalities bounce off each other, such as the clandestine alcoholic grandmother, Mamy, and the seemingly angelic Suzon, bursting with knowledge (and other things) and home on break from "university". Set in the early 20th century French countryside, these eight women find themselves trapped in Gaby's home with a dead body in one room and an overload of estrogen everywhere else, and slowly, but surely, everyone's secrets start to come out.

Oh yeah, about the karaoke. One moment I've got Louise, the seductive maid, practically in my lap (told you this place was small), and the next moment, psychotic spinster Augustine is standing on a chair next to me singing "Total Eclipse of the Heart" at the top of her lungs, complete with karaoke accompaniment playing from the bar speakers. Another lucky audience member accidentally became part of lady of the house Gaby's torrid (and completely unexpected) makeout session with Pierrette, the sister of her deceased husband. Not a very nice way to remember your dearly departed spouse, to whom she'd devoted an impassioned rendition of "Leader of the Pack" an hour earlier.

I'm not going to give away the ending or even clue you in on the other characters that make up this powerhouse of a cast, but I will say that for $5, you're guaranteed a front-row seat to this extremely (ahem) interactive production. Special kudos go out to director Leigh Hyle for not only adapting the play to this tiny space, but using it to her advantage! E-mail 8womenreservations@gmail.com for tickets or click here for more info.


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