Play Murder


59 pages
ISBN 0-921368-49-6
DDC C812'.54





Reviewed by Ian C. Nelson

Ian C. Nelson is assistant director of libraries at the University of
Saskatchewan and président, La Troupe du Jour, Regina Summer Stage.


In Play Murder, Sky Gilbert has done for tobacco heir Zachary Smith
Reynolds and torch singer Libby Holman what Sharon Pollock did for
Lizzie Borden in Blood Relations. There are more than superficial
similarities between the two: fluidity between past and present,
illusion, theatrical reconstruction, and reality and unusual
relationships, to say nothing of slippery, elusive truth in the face of
legend. But to use a line from the script itself, Play Murder reads as
if it could have come from “the back of Tennessee Williams’ mind.”
Gilbert—playwright, filmmaker, actor, drag queen extraordinaire, and
artistic director of Buddies In Bad Times Theatre—has written perhaps
his most accessible and coherent script to date, a highly stylized play
full of surprises and verbal delights that also has the appeal of a Sam
Spade detective story (the playwright specifically calls for scenes
played in “Investigative Mode”) and the grittiness of the 1967 film
Bonnie and Clyde. Who will enjoy Play Murder? This reviewer would like
to say everyone, but more realistically, it would be the same kind of
audience that appreciates the in-your-face political incorrectness and
pan-sexual wit of Absolutely Fabulous.


Gilbert, Sky., “Play Murder,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024,