ComedyReviewSouth East

BRIGHTON FRINGE: Murder on the Improvised Express: Brighton Open Air Theatre (BOAT)

Reviewer: Lela Tredwell

Created by: Pinch Punch
Reviewer: Lela Tredwell

A first class improvised murder mystery with hilarious performances.

In this superb show inspired by Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, we are treated to an expertly improvised performance based on audience suggestions. Miss Marbles is our host detective on this night and she does a beautiful job of engaging the crowd. Her interactions result in the assembling of unique suggestions. Particular joy is found while talking to a young man in the audience who offers the experience of his worst holiday being a woodcraft camp. His descriptions,
with the guidance of Miss Marbles, have the audience already roaring with laughter.

Each audience suggestion cleverly informs the characters who board the train. The woodcraft camp experience leads to the creation of Chip Logger, a man ever on the guard for hornets. Also boarding are bus driving enthusiast Lady Broadstone, actress Eleanore Woods, and her assistant Stan Spam.

We can see the improvisers collating their costumes to create their characters as the suggestions are being taken which is a fun experience. There’s a great use of props too with old suitcases being brought onto the ‘train’ by each passenger. Key information is repeated to ensure
we are all on the same page and no one has been left behind at the station.

This is a very well structured show to make the absolute most of audience interaction. The audience is encouraged to help Miss Marbles to solve the murder of Stanley Spam… a victim of our choosing. Flashbacks are hilariously created so that the ‘murdered’ improviser still plays a key
role through the rest of the performance, much to the delight of those that didn’t vote for his demise.

The brilliant cast are transparent in their processes which makes watching the performance all the more engaging. Fun short form improv games are expertly embedded into a narrative extremely well designed for the genre.

Laugh out loud moments come thick and fast in this thoroughly entertaining show with highly engaging performances. It’s incredibly cleverly created so that no one knows the true identity of the murderer besides the murderer themselves. We are encouraged to keep guessing who done it up until the final reveal. We also get the chance to listen to some of the theories from fellow audience members which is enriching.

Pinch Punch have really thought of everything in creating this show. For the Agatha Christie aficionado and the newcomer to murder mysteries alike, this is a highly engaging, hilarious performance you’ll really want your ticket to ride.

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