Audience Interactive Hilarity: SHEAR MADNESS

Photo from Shear Madness website.

Presented by the Charles Playhouse
Written by Bruce Jordan and Marilyn Abrams
Based off a play Scherenschnitt. Written in 1963 by German writer and psychologist Paul Portner.

Ongoing performances, Tuesday – Sunday into perpetuity
Charles Playhouse Stage II
74 Warrenton Street
Boston, MA
Shear Madness on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) Shear Madness is Boston. It has townie jokes, tourist jokes, madcap physical comedy, classic one-liners and a whole lotta sass. It has a New England edge and universal appeal. It is the best show that most natives have never seen and it lives right next to the Blue Man Group. It’s hilarious and, even if you’ve seen it in the last few years, you should go again.

Shear Madness is a 4th wall breaking, interactive murder mystery in where the audience decides who the culprit is. The first half of the performance focuses on story building: we are introduced to the quirky characters in the cast and given background information on their lives. Shear Madness is a salon on Newbury Street run by the spastic but well-intentioned Tony (Jordan Ahqnuist) – who reminds me a little too much of an adult Stuart from Mad Tv.  He is joined by his assistant Babara DeMarco (Celeste Olivia), grand dame Mrs Shubert (Mary Klug), and mysterious man Eddie (Joe Ruscio). The piano-playing upstairs neighbor has been murdered and one them did it. The second half of the show is spent interrogating the cast. With the help from officers Nick (Chris Tarjan) and Mikey (Joseph Marrella), we figure out “who done it.”

Last Friday night was Blogger’s Night at the Charles Playhouse. My scalding hot date and I were treated to front row seats and a beverage (it’s good to be the Queen). This meant we were able to participate in the audience interactive segments as little or as much as our hearts desired. It must be noted that the cast went out of their way to include as much of the audience as possible. The front row is the closest to the action but the cast ensures that the entire audience is included in the experience.

The impressive set is a fully functioning salon. The first few rows could get sprayed with water or shaving cream depending on how rambunctious the cast is that night. There is a fully functioning bar at the back of the theatre should the the performance, cast and set not be enough of a draw. This show is suitable for all ages and is frequently updated to include current events and pop culture references which explains its longevity. Whether you love slapstick comedy, improv, stand-up, mystery or any other kind of hilarity, Shear Madness is sure to satisfy.

If you enjoyed this article, please consider making a donation. Every cent earned goes towards the upkeep and continuation of the New England Theatre Geek.
Become a patron at Patreon!

Comments are closed.