For any potential Poirots, or budding Miss Marples, this is an evening that will not disappoint.
The venue is a bar and restaurant called Studio 5ive, beside the Troubadour theatre in Wembley Park. The seats are velvet-blue, the tables candle-lit, there’s a grand piano in the centre of the room and classic jazz playing in the background. It belies the busy streets outside, for though it’s in the middle of modern-day Wembley, inside it’s the mid 1940’s and we’re waiting for one of the finest singers of her generation to grace us with her presence.
As a prodigy accompanist settles herself by the piano, a compere with a questionable accent begins to introduce the show. After a hurried message from the stage manager, a scream from an Italian baritone, and a Yorkshire super sleuth’s arrival, it transpires that the venerated prima donna has been murdered, and the murderer must still be in the room.
From that point on we learn tantalising nuggets of information about each of the characters and it’s up to us to guess who the perpetrator is – with a little help from the renowned detective Susan Gusset of course.
The cast are fabulous, each of them taking on the roles of murder-mystery archetypes with real gusto and demonstrating flawless comic timing throughout. There is a wonderful energy to their performance, and they work fantastically well as an ensemble.
The script is great, and the actors are eminently capable improvising during their interaction with the audience which is safely measured – enough to make everyone feel involved but not so much as to feel uncomfortable.
Between the various interludes in the performance, you’re served a three-course meal, which makes the whole evening a really wonderful experience. The menu caters for most tastes, with three different options for each course (including vegan and vegetarian options). The food itself is fairly simple, and while not of an equitable standard to the performance itself, it’s more than adequate.
The staff working at the venue are also fantastic. From the moment you arrive you are very well looked after, which really helps support the experience.
There was a good mixture of groups with some couples, families, groups of friends, and some on their own – all looked to enjoy the evening equally.
If you are a fan of a good mystery and want an evening out with a difference, this is a fantastic option. Watching quality theatre with good food and great friends is a wonderful way to spend your evening. Thoroughly recommended.
Runs until 29 March 2020