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Review : Murder Village an improvised whodunnit at Campari House

By Kerrie Batrouney

The Murder Village whodunnit is a highly enjoyable romp in the style of an Agatha Christie mystery. It's 1952 in Murder Village and they're hosting a literary festival. Such is the setting for our play to take place.

Set at Campari House, this is a great place to go to before the show for a bite to eat and snazzy cocktails. There are 5 levels of bars including 2 rooftop bars, the theatre and stage were quite spacious, still room for the large crowd in to see Murder Village.

On entering the theatre the audience are asked to select the murderer, the victim, the method of murder and a clue….. from a list of options. Thus while the players know the general plot, every performance is different. This makes for a comedy of dramatic moments, puns, and ridiculousness. We are encouraged to “open our eyes and ears to the clues”.

The cast of characters are a group of misfits reminiscent of an old fashioned English mystery, we are introduced to them all as the scene is set for murder…

- Aragon Pewter – the World’s greatest detective, channeling Hercule Poirot but sounding very like Inspector Jacques Clouseau

- W.B. Bebebebe – murder mystery novelist, writer of such classics as “Murder in the bank”, Murder on the train”, he is now thinking of writing “Murder in the bookshop”. He considers himself so good at writing murder books that he is a great detective himself.

- Clarise Trinket – a curious curiosity shop owner, a fanatic WB Bebebebe fan, even almost a stalker.

- Lenny Redgrave – a suspiciously communist book shop owner, a great fan of Carl Marx, not a fan of WB Bebebebe books

- Paige Turner – librarian, a great fan of Dickens, not a fan of WB Bebebebe books, organizer of the literary festival

- Detective Inspector Owen Gullet – mildly incompetent detective, a wily investigator possessing nouse, gumption and wiles.

Impressively, even the mood music and sound effects were improvised and credit must be given here to the mysterious keyboard player in the corner who doubled as a character as well (I'm just not too sure who that character was).

The players are clever and witty. They are clearly experienced and command the stage in a confident and practiced manner. The costumes are excellent, they are a clear pointer to the year this is set but also send strong clues to the character of the wearer. Characteristically overacting, while at the same time displaying awesome acting and comedic talent, the actors were impressive. Improvising like mad and developing the plot on the fly demonstrate that they are masters of their craft, I really enjoyed the show.

The Big HOO-HAA company have been in Melbourne for over 8 years, they are masters at the art of improv. The team for Murder Village were 6 of the best. If you love improv this is one not to miss. And if you want more, The Big HOO-HAA company have a regular gig at the Butterfly Club… look it up.

Image Supplied

All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.


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