Creator: Play Dead
Even though it involves a grisly murder, this is bound to be one of the most enjoyable zoom work parties this year.
The audience are coppers, gathered for a small celebration before Detective Slaughter gets a call to alert him to a killing (and the fact that his bonus depends on it being quickly solved). The director of a small local theatre company has been found dead beneath an extremely heavy glitter ball – and the five cast members who had last seen him alive have been told to dial into our zoom call for questioning. They all have means, motive and opportunity, but who is it that finally snapped?
With just an hour to play with, we jump from zoom room to zoom room, questioning the characters as smaller groups before coming together again to get new info from the detective. There’s the jilted lover, the spivvy local businessman who financed the play, the local luvvie, the old flame, the egotistical leading lady – all the classics. With two minutes interrogation per suspect, the time whips by at a frantic (sometimes frustratingly quick) pace, with each getting in a surprisingly large amount of info and backstory despite what can be hesitant questioning from the detectives. Without saying much, the characters manage to say a huge amount – and keep an entertaining edge to the show as they do it. Lust, infidelity, jealousy, financial chicanery – all covered and all connected. A mystery show like this lives or dies by its details, so the attention paid to having good answers for every awkward question put to the cast is really appreciated.
While there’s few moments of genuine tension and thin (but genuinely enjoyable) characters, the journey is so well put together using the facilities of the video platform that it feels properly immersive. The lack of discussion and consideration time makes it feel a bit rushed, and doesn’t give us a chance to formulate a theory as a group, which is a shame. It’s unlikely to compete with the live events the company also put on (when able) but it shows they know just what an audience wants from a fun whodunnit, and they’ve worked hard to deliver. It’s here to entertain, not challenge, and it does so nicely.
Runs here until 31 Jan 2021