What’s a Little “Murder Among Friends?”


Nicole Kowalewski

Laura Yeadon, a sophomore, poses in front of her portrait of Jack Beasley on the set of “Murder Among Friends.”

At RWU’s first student-run theatrical production since before Covid reared its ugly head, a wealthy member of New York’s upper crust quips, “After all, what’s a little murder among friends?”

As it turns out, it is a twisty, comical spoof of Agatha Christie’s infamous algorithm, sure to please even the most deadpan theatergoer.

“Murder Among Friends” is fully student-produced, from the director right down to the set design– Laura Yeadon, pictured above, painted over a photograph of Jack Beasley to craft a portrait of his character (Palmer Forrester, himself an actor) playing the infamous Cyrano. Yeadon’s masterpiece is just one example of RWU students’ remarkable talents shining through to elevate this production. I would say that you would never guess that “Murder Among Friends” had not benefited from the oversight of any staff members, but the truth is, you absolutely can– in the best way possible. Something about this play sets it apart from RWU Theatre’s usual fare, and it is not just the bloodstains on the carpet.

Despite its macabre subject matter, the play retains a lighthearted feel, buoyed by rapid-fire quips and comebacks. Its twists and turns keep viewers at the edge of their seats, and the actors keep the laughs coming. I heard audible gasps and not a few guffaws from my fellow audience members, ensuring the standing ovation the cast received at their curtain call was no surprise.

An interesting choice for this production is the inclusion of musical numbers before the show and during intermission. All songs were performed by members of Stage Company (RWU’s theater club and our producers for the evening), most of whom also belong to the cast, crew, or creative team behind the play. The song selection was no accident– many share the common theme of putting a comedic spin on death, and upon a closer look reveal clues as to where the plot takes us. Let us just say “Breaking Down” from “Falsettos” takes on a whole new meaning after the first act…

The only downside to this thrilling production of “Murder Among Friends” is its brief run– the play ran for two nights only in the Performing Arts Center, and I count myself as one of the relatively few lucky ones to have caught it. Consider this an encouragement to keep an eye out for future student-run RWU productions– the hard work of your peers is evident at every turn, and their joy in creating something so fun is palpable. Well done, Stage Company– we look forward to more productions in the future.