27th April 2013
Forest Arts Centre, Walsall
Type of Production
Author: Brian Hirst
This was a first for me on two counts; one as my first murder mystery musical and two as a world premiere as it was written by Musical Director Ben Batt. I must confess that I was unable to unmask the murderer. It was a good idea to have a prize draw of the correct solutions in identifying the murderer.
I am not going to try to explain the intricacies of the story suffice it to say that it was a clever concept with very good use of words both in the dialogue and original music. My only criticism would be that sometimes the wordiness slowed down the pace of the action.
The action took place in a ‘stately home’ at a fancy dress gathering to hear the reading of the will of Lady Stourbridge who incidentally was murdered about 30 seconds into the production. I don’t know where to start with a review of characters as every member of the cast had a cameo role which featured somewhere on the story (usually before they were murdered). However there were some characters who lasted a little longer. The two detectives brought in to solve Lady Stourbridge’s murder were well played by Joe Fisher (Noel Uckholmes) and his brother Jacob (Whatsup). There were also some excellent performances, both in singing and characterisation, from Linda Bloxham (Miss Anne Thropic), Neil Morris (Sir John), Mark Nicholls (Lord Algernon Zafari), Kerry Flint (Miss Elaine Nee), Paul Leddington (Alan Largemarsh), John Utting (Jim Tawdry), Jennie Fisher (Annette Courtagne), Adam Foxall (Rev. Peter Pious), Hannah Collier (The Solicitor), Ollie Bennett (The Butler) and Claire Oatley (The Chef). I could go through all the cast as they all had a part to play if they lasted long enough so well done to everyone!