Reviewer: Deborah Klayman
Melding improvised comedy with the murder mystery genre, this laugh a minute show will leave you with aching sides and a yearning to watch it all over again. With a beautiful set, period costumes and five intrepid performers, Murder She Didn’t Write: The Improvised Murder Mystery is a delightful show where literally anything could happen.
The show has slightly more structure than your average improv, hung as it is over a well-established genre and recognisable, Cluedo-esque characters. Steve Clements serves as both narrator and the detective entrusted with uncovering the culprit in this thoroughly madcap hour, aided by his trusty sidekick, Jerkins. Like the performance, Jerkins is a different person every night, chosen as they are from the audience. They are given the job of selecting both the victim and perpetrator of the eponymous murder, and of choosing the setting from audience suggestions. Our particular murder occurred at a rugby match.
All four of the colour-coded cast then create the drama, with the detective interjecting at various points to clarify or move the action along. Rachael Proctor-Lane, Caitlin Campbell, Lizzy Skrzypiec and Andrew Kelly are each fantastic in their roles, with scenes ably underscored by musical director Sara Garrard. The premise is ridiculous, the actors superb, and the result: sixty minutes of hilarity. Even the lighting crew get in on the act, brutally ending scenes with a blackout, or forcing the team to continue along a strange line of thought by leaving the lights on.
In the last section of the piece, the detective steps in to unravel the mystery, and tie up the narrative by providing some sort of explanation for what has taken place. The production is necessarily unpolished, but that only adds to the charm – and the laughs. Proctor-Lane was particularly noteworthy as Marigold Gold in today’s version, conjuring the image of a one-woman scrum with aplomb.
This is a show you could no doubt enjoy over and over again.
Runs until 26 August 2019 | Image: Contributed