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A Killer Story 

When: Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through May 18 2013
Price: $20-$50

The world of classic Thirties noir has little in common with the Berkeley hills: One is gritty and lurid, the other enlightened and posh. Playwright Dan Harder makes the most of this hilarious disjuncture in A Killer Story, now at The Marsh in Downtown Berkeley, which sets a classic whodunit not far from the theater. In the play, a no-nonsense gumshoe tells the story of how he came to suspect his two clients, respectively spouse and partner to a brilliant neuroscientist who one day goes missing, of murdering the man they ostensibly hired him to track down. Harder packs the play with dopey double-entendre and stilted counterpoint storytelling, but it is perfectly charming in the context of this campy genre revival. Indeed, A Killer Story constantly skirts satire of a certain affluent Bay Area lifestyle, but ultimately it's not a piece of social commentary so much as an earnest love letter to noir, postmarked Contemporary Berkeley. Through May 18 at The Marsh (2120 Allston Way). 510-704-8291 or

— Alex Bigman


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