No One Ever Dies In Montana | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

No One Ever Dies In Montana 

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No One Ever Dies In Montana, LiveWire Theater, at Frankie J's MethaDome Theatre. Playwright Sean Michael Welch and director Chris Arnold can't seem to decide whether this love triangle between a serial killer, his wife, and his brother is a legitimate thriller or a dark comedy of the "I married an ax murderer" variety. Certain scenes indicate comedic intent--for example, a series of monologues in which the wife, Rose, recites increasingly distorted versions of her wedding vows. The dialogue is also peppered with shock laughs, including lines like "Would you drive me to the abortion clinic next to the toy store?" and bits like Rose's preoccupation with air freshener. Yet as the action unfolds, it leaves the characters in a state that's more sorry than humorously macabre.

These are just a few of many indications that the play isn't quite finished. Implausible details don't help, like a description of the killer slicing through a victim's ribs and skull with a piece of broken mirror (he must be Superman). And the wife purportedly stays with her husband, who's storing dead bodies in the basement, because "there are too many divorces out there" and she doesn't want to become a statistic.

Many dots remain unconnected in Welch's script. But he isn't the only one with work left to do: Arnold should rein in his trio of speed-reading actors, and designer Adam Fox needs to eliminate visuals that contribute nothing to the bizarre ambience Welch apparently wants to create.

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