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Murder by Natural Causes

Before reality TV and Real Housewives of Whatever, the small screen was filled with such as Columbo, Mannix, McCloud and Murder She Wrote. Created, written and produced by William Link and Richard Levinson, these on-air series fed America’s fascination with murder and mystery. The crime-writing duo also penned the television movie Murder by Natural Causes, which subsequently was adapted for the stage by prolific playwright Tim Kelly and is currently playing at Theatre Suburbia.“One of our goals is to bring new or newer works to Houston. Though this play was published a few years back, it has not been performed locally,” said Doris Merten, who directs.

Murder, with its Hitchcock-like twist, definitely fits the bill there. It has enough of a twist to throw even the most astute observer off balance.” The writing is stylish, witty and ingenious, with a hatched plan for murder and an unexpected shock leading to an exciting climax. “Like an Agatha Christie [novel], this show keeps the audience guessing until the very end,” promised Merten. “All good stage productions are about illusions, so what better way to set a show than to bring an illusionist and his heroes into the plot?”

The victim of these machinations, Arthur Sinclair, is described as a successful world-famous mentalist. “Arthur is an incredibly charming and fun role to play,” said actor Michael Raabe, who plays Sinclair. He promises, “You’ll never guess how his story ends.”

8:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sundays. Through March 28. Theatre Suburbia, 4106 Way Out West Drive, Suite N. For information, call 713-682-3525 or visit theatresuburbia.org. $16.
Sundays, 3 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8:30 p.m. Starts: Feb. 27. Continues through March 28, 2015

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