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‘Art of Murder’ in review

Melbourne Civic Theatre gets us into a spooky Halloween mood with twists and turns of dreadful deed in Joe DiPietro’s comic thriller, “Art of Murder.”

Set in an artists’ home in rural Connecticut, the play pokes fun at artists, their agents and the sudden cache a dead artist “enjoys.”

Here, it’s Jack Brooks (David Baum) and his wife, Annie Brooks (Sally Contess), who are at odds with the talent they see in one another. They have invited their agent, Vincent Cummings (Chandler McRee) to discuss a project. He arrives shortly after the maid, Kate (Amy Grandey), leaves for the evening.

After Jack retreats for introspection in his isolation tank, Annie convinces Vincent that they’d all be better off without Jack.

It quickly turns into a dark and stormy night…courtesy scenic designer Gary Postlethwait, lighting designer Alan Selby and sound designer Wendy Reader.

This is one of those reviews in which you can’t really say much for fear of ruining the fun in this play that’s filled with so many s-curves you may feel the need of dramamine.

Directed by Peg Girard, the production is one that allows the actors to feast to their fill on the scenery. Indeed, McRee nearly tears it into ropa vieja.

While DiPietro is the one who gave us “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” and “Over the River and Through the Woods,” here, he pays more attention to plot than character. But the actors all have great fun with the action.

Their fun is infectious. The thrills are enough to keep your attention but not so much that you’ll swoon from fright.

SIDE O’ GRITS: “Art of Murder,” on stage through Nov. 20 at Melbourne Civic Theatre, 817 e. Strawbridge Ave., Melbourne. It performs 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. $20 general, $18 seniors/military/students. Call 321-723-6935 or visit www.mymct.org.