Special Issues » 2008 Charleston Comedy Festival

Mortal Comics

Finding the humor in homicide

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Dad's Garage presents Murder, She Improvised
Fri., Jan. 18, 10 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 19, 10 p.m.;
$12.50; The American Theater;
www.dadsgarage.com

The recurring role in Murder, She Improvised is that of Sir John Holmes of Scotland Yard, renowned throughout the world for the length of his, uh, investigative record and the depth to which he probes.

The setting of the story is the SunnyArse Hotel, a swank seaside spot in Great Britain with excellent amenities, top-notch service, and only the occasional murder most foul. Each time Sir John visits SunnyArse, he finds himself surrounded by a brand new set of characters to consider suspects in the crime.

Think of it as playing the board game Clue. Except instead of shuffling cards with your cousins and uncle at home while the popcorn pops in the microwave, you'll be in a theater with really, really funny people on stage doing all the hard work for you.

And nobody will argue over who gets to be Colonel Mustard, jab one another in the arm with the little knife, or try to fake a Tim Curry accent.

"The audience gets to pick what clues, motives, alibis, and weapons will appear," says Tim Stoltenberg of Dad's Garage Theatre Company, the who's who behind this whodunit. "We've had some really bizarre shows."

Not only are Dad's longform improv shows bizarre, but wildly successful. Already in the third season, the show takes a few cues from the latest news to give murders that torn-from-the-headlines snark.

"We've had mysteries with sports figures, movie stars, and people in the music industry, even oil tycoons," Stoltenberg says. "We like to mix it up."

The Atlanta-based Dad's Garage, a perennial favorite at the Charleston Comedy Festival, has been rolling in kudos since the company opened way back in 1995, when the whole wide world was young and innocent.

"The audiences are so much fun," Stoltenberg says.

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