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February 21, 2005 // UPDATED 1:52 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Anna Pratt
Anna Pratt

Murder, he wrote

"Masterpiece Theatre" meets "Clue" in the play "Murderers." But unlike an ordinary whodunit, you don't have to figure out the rightful suspects or ponder the evidence. In this case the mystery is backwards.

You get to know immediately who the culprits are and their respective crimes that happened conveniently in the same night in Riddle Key, Florida.

That's enough to cause a few nightmares in the sleepy retirement community.

In three cold-blooded but humorous vignettes, a trio of dangerous killers confess their shameful revenges with melodramatic monologues.

Find out what drove these mad citizens to do it, how they actually went through with the dirty work and what happened afterwards.

Th-Su Feb. 25-Mar. 20; Th-Sa 8 p.m., Su 7 p.m. Illusion Theater, 528 Hennepin Ave. S. $16-$26, 339-4944, www.illusiontheater.org.

'Measure for Measure'

Shakespeare's play is recast in the context of modern office politics. Despite roiling sexual harassment and nasty government games, this is still a dark comedy rife with some of Shakespeare's favorites: the poetic charades of love and deceit.

"Measure for Measure" makes you wish you were Houdini, capable of slipping through even the most treacherous chains. But Shakespeare says too bad, you're not able to escape. Things like this happen.

The play begins with a crooked employee and an attractive woman named Isabella. Step inside sterile institutional offices and dim underground nightclubs where the shady official threatens Isabella. In order to preserve her brother's life, she must fulfill a gross request have sex with the bad guy - if she ever wants to see her brother healthy again.

The crook makes sure she knows that she doesn't have a lot of options. Plus, the clock is moving with a torturous tick, tock.

As intended, Shakespeare's morality play gives us pause. What would we do if personally confronted by that kind of intimidation? How does one evaluate the veracity of that kind of ominous threat?

F-Su thru Mar. 6, F-Sa 8 p.m., Su 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. (alternately). Theatre in the Round, 245 Cedar Ave. $20. 333-3010, www.theatreintheround.org