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Thou Shall Not Kill Egnirf Trof @ Murder… er, Redrum @ Fort Fringe

Remaining performances: July 17 at 9:45 pm; July 19 at 2:15 pm

They say: “A collection of stimulating and comedic one-acts asking the question, ‘Can’t murder be innocent?’ Join a variety of imaginative characters portraying how naively one’s mind can contemplate murder. This show will challenge your own morals and leave you wanting more!”

Sheffy says: Remember how much fun you had in your Philosophy 101 class debating questions like: Is it ethical to kill someone in self-defense or in war? What about assassinating Hitler? If you could prevent someone from being killed, are you culpable if you don’t? Now imagine listening to that debate rehashed for 120 straight minutes. I get it, every scenario is unique, but to make your point, do you really need to beat it over the head with a brick (uh, literally)?

The cast does an admirable job keeping the audience’s attention, particularly the charismatic female actresses, who unfortunately only appear in two of the acts. However, instead of some serious editing, the show opted to save time by skipping an intermission and having the actors talk fast (though otherwise their Southern drawls were convincing).

If the playwrights seriously wanted to engage the audience in a moral debate, the scenarios would have to be grounded in sociological motives for real murder—-say, passion, money, revenge, or maybe some juicy sexual infidelity. But by staying in philosophy class, they never transcend a cartoonish view on why someone might be driven to murder. Although they retread ideas from Crime and Punishment (killing just because you can get away with it), the writing just ain’t Dostoevsky.

See it if: You’ve ever watched a murder unfold on CSI and thought to yourself, “I could have done it better!”

Skip it if: You can’t conceive of a two-hour dialectic on murder that doesn’t even mention Kant. Or, you’ve never actually contemplated killing someone: by Act 3 or 4, you just might start looking around for someone responsible to kill.