By: Murderers Anonymous
Reviewer: Simon Topping
An inventive slice of interactive murder mystery served up by Brighton theatre company Murderers Anonymous.
As the crowd gathers we are cheerily greeted by the best man, Jack Pudding (Josh Hard) and bridesmaid, Kimberly Taylor (Lauren McEvoy). It is Genevieve Bucksworth (Ely La Rue) and Laurence Talls’ (Frazer Ives) wedding reception, which we soon discover is not such a happy affair.
It is apparent from the off that the bride is not pleased, not only with how the day has gone so far but also with the lack of catering, the jibes from the best man, the quality of her bridesmaid and severe lack of attention she feels like she is getting on her special day.
Rounding off the idiosyncratic guest list at the top table are the bride’s rich and misogynistic father, Montgomery Buckworth (William Simpson) and a gate crashing, bumbling eccentric vicar, Reverend Green (Phillip Willet). They don’t escape the bride’s roth either. Nor does her poor put upon groom, who on the surface seems like an overly confident lout but underneath is a scared and doting lackey.
As the bride (newly named Jenny Talls, as the best man revels in pointing out) alienates everyone in the room, as well as her friends and family with her vicious bile, she suddenly becomes ill and drops down dead in front of us. But whodunit?! Clues and monologues from each of the remaining characters guide our way through the twists and turns. Is anybody what they initially seem?
At the heart of this show is a fabulous performance from its co-writer Hards. It is difficult producing a farce with a large cast, but they hold the play together well. Hards is a great comedy actor and improviser, he’s a likeable performer even when playing a rotter, as in this case. He embodies the grotesqueness of Jack Pudding well and is a deft physical comedian.
McEvoy is also excellent as the increasingly drunk and erratic Taylor. She produces a well honed comedy performance. The surrounding cast members all have chances to shine. La Rue (also a co-writer) as the social media obsessed bride, has some fabulously funny lines throughout the night as does the unusual vicar. The groom’s obsession with his hair also garners plenty of laughs with Ives playing the character’s pomposity to perfection.
The balance of the ensemble is well directed, although occasionally the pacing drops and actors find themselves talking over each other. The interaction with the hesitant audience is well done and some of the improv makes the room rock with laughter.
Til Death Do Us Part is a solid piece of theatre that entertains well and has plenty of funny bits. It will be interesting to see what the company does next as the cast has lots of potential, with Hards and McEvoy stand out performers .
Reviewed on 24th November