This play Murdered to Death performed by Chameleon Theatre Company in October was an obvious parody of an Agatha Christie murder mystery, right down to one of the characters being called Miss Maple, after the Miss Marple character. Poirot was also referenced, from Miss Maple knowing a Belgian chap, to Pierre Marceau resembling Poirot physically.
The funniest character was Inspector Pratt, who is the most incompetent detective ever. He clearly has no idea how to solve the murder and does not listen to the smarter people around him, including his partner Constable Thompkins. Most of the funniest moments revolve around Pratt’s complete buffoonery and inability to help resolve the situation, when in reality he makes it worse. For example, he shoots Thompkins twice, constantly gets names wrong and mixes up sentences (my favourite line is “The thick plottens”) and keeps falling over.
My other favourite character was Bunting the butler. Everything about him is hilarious, from his mannerisms to his constant repetition of “Bunting, ma’am” and the fact he constantly forgets to introduce people.
I also liked the interactive part of the plot. During the interval, everybody got a piece of paper to write down who they thought the killer was based on the clues in the first half. I guessed it was Pierre Marceau, but everyone had a motive. I did not expect the killer to be Margret Craddock but I was pleasantly surprised, and her motivation made sense because she wanted revenge against Mildred. The play gained a lot of humour because it was a serious plot but the characters did not take it seriously at all. For example, there was a contrasting scene in which the characters were more concerned about tea than solving the murder. It shows that everybody in the story was ill-suited for this genuine murder mystery.
Part 2 of the review is written by Allison Symes: Murdered To Death – The Chameleon Theatre Company – Review Part 2
Credit: Photographs by Liz Strevens and Marilyn Dundar.
Murdered to Death by Peter Gordon
Director: Jenni Prior
Liz Strevens – Mildred
Kayleigh Fagence – Dorothy
Stuart Weinberg – Bunting the butler
Geoff Dodsworth – Colonel Craddock
Carrie Laythorpe – Margaret Craddock
Matthew Meehan – Pierre Marceau
Lisa Dunbar – Elizabeth Hartley-Trumpington
Sian Hayden – Miss Joan Maple
Nick Coleman – Inspector Pratt
Fiona Winchester – Constable Thompkins