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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Half Past Three

Posted on Sat, Aug 30, 2008 at 5:46 PM

Film noir fans, ya've heard of The Big Sleep, The Big Heat, Farewell My Lovely and Kiss Me Deadly. You've thrilled to the seedy shadowy cinematic depictions of "the last shred of humanity, the last ray of light, the last drag of a cigarette, the last wisecrack, the last breath". (Who knew these could be so lasting?) Now thrill to Half Past Three, a bright noir romp written and deliciously acted by the wickedly funny duo of Sher Clain and Ann Doyle. The setting? A nightclub. Backstage dressing room of a slinky and much deceased lounge thrush. What's left of her is a taped outline tracing where her body sprawled when first found. Investigating her untimely demise are Agent AA (diminutive Sher Clain) - a detective about whom investigation manuals are based and written. And Agent DD (tall Ann Doyle) who is honoured tickle-pink beyond his wildest comprehension to be working his first case in tandem with his fabled longtime sleuthing hero. Doyle, a grimacing toothy grin pasted throughout on her puss, regularly addresses the audience with side-splitting story exposition couched in familiar noir film catch-phrases and argot.To us, something about the investigation doesn't appear quite kosher. Why is legendary Agent AA so shifty and evasive as he relentlessly and frantically rumages through the late songbird's particulars and effects - as if hunting for something specific - perhaps not actually relevant to solving the case. Ka-ching! The Big Reveal at the brisk play's conclusion explains all. But before that summing up, Clain and Doyle pull an all-stops-out Mel Brooksian Cole Porter musical moment, complete with harmony singing and Broadway steps dancing, that doubled up the audience, already sore-ribbed from laughter. My advice, Fringe-goers? Direct yer gams to the Khyber 2 and enjoy a riotous 40 minutes with this pair of hardly hard-boiled detectives as they try to figure out just what in lace pants happened at Half Past Three.

Showtimes: Khyber 2 Sat Aug 30 at 8:45; Mon Sept 1 at 3:30 ; Thurs Sept 4 at 6:00 and Sat Sept at 3:15 and Sun Sept 7 at 8:30 $6:00

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