Review: Parlour Games at The Arch at Holden Street Theatres

Review By Lia Cocks

I absolutely adore the Holden Street Theatres, and The Arch is the perfect backdrop for this tale of murder, mayhem, and mystery.

Parlour Games, presented by The Green Guys Company, plays fact with fiction, as a voiceover announces that crime-writer Agatha Christie has gone missing.

This was in actuality, a true fact.

Christie went missing on December 3 1926 and was not located until 11 days later, in circumstances so strange that they raised more questions than they solved. Christie herself was unable to provide any clues as she remembered nothing. Or did she?

Meanwhile, the play depicts eight of her biggest fans coming together in the hope to meet their literary hero for a book signing, at a little English tearoom, only to discover that during an innocent round of Parlour Games, one of them has killed Christie herself!

What ensues is an hour of hilarity, classic ‘who dunnit’ interrogations, suspense and pandemonium.

Was it The Hostess [Luca Sardelis]; the hard working, but nervous wreck owner of Munkwell Manor, convening the book signing?

How about The Doctor, played to suave perfection by Hayden Stanes, the general practitioner who clearly has his eye set on The Hostess and finding the murderer?

Or Deborah Caddy’s The No.1 Fan surely has motive enough as being the only person to have had direct contact from Agatha Christie herself?

Perhaps James Harvy’s The Major is the killer, he does have an air of mistrust about him…

Or his butler, The Servant [Daniel Hamilton] seems culpable enough?

Everyone likes to point the finger to The Émigré, played by Alexandra Schulze, but The Writer [Arran Beattie] with his secret seems to be a probable suspect.

Rachael Horbelt as The Drunk could well be hiding something more shocking, but you’ll just have to come along to find out!

While all the actors were fabulously cast, the two standouts for me were Luca Sardelis and Deborah Caddy. Both were ingenious with their characterisations and held their own from start to finish.

Sardelis embodied the anxious and tense Hostess with complete perfection, while Caddy’s No.1 Fan was composed and unruffled in the most authentic way.

A terrific interactive moment occurred when the voiceover asked us to scan the QR code on the seat in front of us for us to vote on who we, the audience, think is the murderer.

A crafty way to engage the audience, which allows us to play detective and see who was really paying attention to the clues, twists and turns!

Direction by Zoe Tidemann is clean, crisp and polished, and the lighting and sound scape work perfectly together to create the thrill and tension in the production.

The set and props perfectly capture the era, as does the costumes, so kudos to the wardrobe and set team.

The season is almost sold out, so if you want a night complete with all the trimmings of a timeless who dunnit, that will keep you guessing, deducing, and speculating right to the very end, then get your tickets to Parlour Games.

Will you predict who did it?

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