Leicester Square Theatre, London – next shows on Sunday 25 March & Sunday 29 April
You couldn’t make it up – oh wait, they do! Improvised murder mystery show Murder She Didn’t Write brightens up the last Sunday of the month at the Leicester Square Theatre.
Fresh from sellout success at the Edinburgh Fringe, the folks of Degrees of Error are clearly hoping that their murder mystery show will emulate the success of fellow improv stars Showstopper and Austentatious, both of which are now enjoying monthly residencies in the West End.
Murder She Didn’t Write’s London debut thus comes at the Leicester Square Theatre and, on this hilarious evidence, you wouldn’t put it past them to follow in the footsteps up to Shaftesbury Avenue. Playing out like a cross between a live action game of Cluedo and pure stand-up – this is Poirot on laughing gas.
Insofar as anyone has any control over proceedings, the show is introduced by a detective in search of a case and with a smidge of audience contribution, the scene is set – in our case, it was for ‘The Wet Tea Towel Mystery’. And as we tumble headlong into a 1920ish world with a cast of six, all bets are off as it becomes less whodunnit as whocankeepastraightface.
For this is a very funny company indeed and well-drilled in how to make the show work. The six performers are unafraid to push risqué humour and surreal physical work to the limit; having the Inspector act as a director of sorts meant they weren’t allowed to get away with anything (chickens, in space…?!); and whoever was on lighting duty played an absolute blinder in controlling several of the shorter scenes.
With a bit of a stern face on, the attention to detail slipped a little towards to the end – it may not seem like the poisoned mayonnaise and the number of dead husbands were that important but the rest of the show had been so polished that these wrinkles showed. But who am I kidding, I was chortling contentedly throughout and still giggling at the quick-thinking inventiveness now. As good a way as you can spend a Sunday afternoon.