Imagine an episode of Scooby Doo for adults, where the cast doesn’t know what they’re saying, or even who the murderer is until well after the interval. Or an Agatha Christie novel comprised solely of dark humour and childish comebacks. That’s the idea of Murder, She Didn’t Write. The plot of the play was composed entirely by audience suggestions, meaning the small, yet able cast had to think on their feet. And that they did. On the night I attended, it so happened that King Wilfred of
The cast joyously changed between comedy, innuendo, one-liners and ad-libs throughout both halves of the play. Of course, there were moments where actors stumbled on words, or a retort fell a tad flat. Some sly comments and actions were forgotten about at a later point, such as Scarlet Gold stealing something from a cabinet that was never mentioned again. However, it’s hardly like you can expect completely smooth-sailing anyway with an entirely improvised show. For the most part, the puns were well timed, the cast brought back running gags, and even the cast members were laughing among themselves – including, at one point, the “corpse” – added a humorous tone to the play. If you’re expecting a perfectly ran show, don’t go. It was nice to see them involve the audience so frequently too, even down to an instance where somebody sneezed and several cast members, remaining in character, said: “Bless you!”
In terms of set design, it was minimal. A few set pieces such as potted plants, a paper screen and a chaise longue were among those dotted around that could be moved by the cast, but nothing extravagant. And that was fine. It was funny too at times see the cast trip over pieces as they moved them, dimly lit by the black and red spotlights. The costumes were also simplistic, but still defined character. After reading other reviews of past productions, it’s hardly something to complain about as it seems that the set and costume design works no matter how the plot turns out. It certainly worked for the story on my night.
Because I like my mysteries anyway, it was easy for me to get engrossed in the plot, no matter how outlandish it might have been. The two ladies sat next to me didn’t return after the interval – clearly, they preferred the company of a sad G & T – but most of the audience came back for more. As we left, my boyfriend even pulled out his phone and started Googling whether the show was on again the next night, saying our flatmate would enjoy it. I have to agree and say that anyone that enjoys a fun night of giddy, accomplished actors and enthralled audiences will enjoy this play.