If you like witty comedy and laugh-out-loud characters then this spoof of Agatha Christie’s murder mysteries is for you! Network Theatre presents Murdered to Death directed by Owain Jones and played to comedic perfection by a brilliant cast of suspects – I mean, actors. I caught an open dress run a few days before opening night at Network Theatre under Waterloo station where no one can hear you scream… with laughter.
Right out of the gate I noticed the incredible set design. All the action on stage takes place in one drawing room of a 1930s country house – though we hear plenty about the antics going on in the kitchen! – and the set design created the perfect location for the play. Immediately I was drawn into the world of these wacky characters.
The costumes complemented the set well – they worked together to give a clear impression of the lives of these characters. The suspicious Frenchman skulking by the window in his purple smoking jacket, the butler bursting through the number of working doors on stage in his tails and white gloves, it all worked so well together.
The scene changes were a bit clunky: the audience is left waiting and watching a dark stage while actors move on and off stage. However these moments occur very few times throughout the play so it doesn’t disrupt the action too much.
The script is outstanding. It’s so witty and smart and sharp, jam packed with clever word play and innuendo. The audience is kept guessing at every turn as to who the murderer – or murderers – could be. Even after the big reveal had taken place before my very eyes I expected there to be another twist or turn to keep me on my toes.
Murdered to Death features a smashing cast of actors, a number of whom regularly work with Network Theatre. Every character was believable as a suspect and yet each one managed to gain my sympathy too: whether they were a pompous idiot, a blithering detective or a sweet young woman. The cast had obvious chemistry and pulled off this ensemble comedy with style. They were a supportive cast who clearly loved being on stage and bringing such outrageous characters to life!
I was disappointed when the murder victim – no spoilers! – suffered their fate because I was loving their performance so much! A special shout out must go to Bunting too, the butler of the house, who slayed the audience with practically every line.
The play features a whole host of visual gags. In fact, I’m sure you could spend the whole play watching a different character one by one and spot something new each time! I loved how those little moments brought depth as well as comedy to each character.
Be sure to catch Murdered to Death at Network Theatre from 17th – 20th May 2023. Tickets are available at www.networktheatre.org. Run time 2 hours 20 minutes including the interval. All performances have open captions.
Network Theatre is a community theatre space in the underground railway arches of London Waterloo station run by the volunteers from Network Theatre Company.