A Party to Murder: A White-Knuckle Ride!
This week, Talking Scarlet has brought another knockout play to Blackpool’s glorious Grand Theatre, ‘A Party to Murder’. Fans of Agatha Christie, namely ‘And Then There Were None’, should stop what they are doing immediately and buy tickets.
The fun starts with the programme; we thought it was a neat little trick listing the key events of 1988 within – it really helped settle us into the atmosphere.
As the curtains draw up, there was some initial disappointment at the gaudy costumes and hugely-exaggerated acting. Oh, wait! The characters are playing a murder mystery game and making the most of their daft personas!
Charles (Ben Roddy) is a British mystery writer who has crossed the pond to America and has invited five others to join him on a mystery weekend at a remote island cottage in the middle of a lake – will people never learn that these remote cottages are a recipe for tragedy?!
For this performance, Willy, one of the guests, was played by director Patric Kearns. It’s difficult to imagine him played by anyone else really – he was fantastic! He’s the really comedy piece of the play, giving scarcasm and schtick to remind us all to keep laughing through some seriously intense moments. Elwood (John Hester) is a mega-successful tycoon and McKenzie, (Michelle Morris) is his highly-strung girlfriend with a juicy past. Sisters Valerie and Henri (Natasha Gray and Claire Fisher) own a water company, and don’t come across as the closest of siblings to begin with, but perhaps that is part of the point . . .
When the mystery game winner is declared, they get to choose their own prize. Met with uneasy responses, the winner decides that each guest is obliged to grant them a favour . . . with no limits.
As usual, we don’t want to give too much away, as it’s so worth a watch. Needless to say though, someone dies pretty early on.
We’re big mystery story fans, and felt quite pompous thinking we had it sussed. Nope. The twists in this production leave you breathless, and we’re suffering whiplash from the unravelling of this tale.
The special effects are pretty impressive for a relatively simple set, and we’d recommend anyone with a pacemaker ensure theirs is fine-tuned as there are definitely some jump-y moments!
The accents were sometimes a little distracting, but this production demanded high energy from all six actors, and they delivered their performances brilliantly; each of them made their jokes land perfectly, too.
We want to watch it again to see if we can pick up any clues that lead to the frankly outrageous conclusion – you certainly fooled us, Talking Scarlet!
A massive well done – we loved it!
The show is only on until Saturday, 17th of September, so buy your tickets from the Grand Theatre here.