Tuesday, June 25

The Murder(ed) Musketeers – The Space UK Online Festival

As the Edinburgh Fringe Festival was not able to go ahead this year, venue ‘The Space UK’ have devised a replacement online festival to allow the artists who were due to perform at this year’s festival a chance to show off their production and to earn money via donations.

Theatre company Highly Suspect, are more than just a theatre company, they also specialize in staging murder mystery events and given the fun injected into this production, I am sure their murder mystery evenings are equally packed with jolly japes.

Before you begin to watch, it is a good idea to wander over to their website, as during the play, you will be asked to view the evidence to help in your quest to solve the crime which is saved on their website, it is a good idea to have access to this before you start.  The play is partly interactive as you are encouraged to try to solve the mystery as you go along, and scrutiny of the evidence is all part of the fun.

To set the scene, the murder mystery is set in a theatre where the cast have been rehearsing for the play, Agatha Mystery’s ‘The Rat Trap’ and we are introduced to characters Colonel Helmond Mayo, Ivor Fortune and Miss Maypole.  It is the job of Detective Paul Leese to solve the crime and decide by deduction who has murdered actress Olivia Broadchurch.  The first scene of the play was filmed on a stage which allowed us to establish the characters who were in the play (within the play), and it gave us the basic plot. 

The writing is very clever as there are more double entendre’s than you can shake a stick at, but this goes hand in hand with intrigue and the mystery is built upon slowly.  The Highly Suspect actors (there is no cast list so I cannot reference the actors), are obviously old hands at this type of performance and adapt from the stage setting to the digital zoom performance easily.   All of the performances are over the top which fits in with the nature of the play, within a play, with the hamming up by the actors helping the viewer to differentiate the play’s characters from the real pretend actors.  Confused?  It can be a little confusing but bear with it as all becomes clear as the play moves on. 

The murderer is only revealed on the website in a separately recorded segment, so you don’t have to have to answer at the end of the show, and it will give you time to come to your own conclusion.

This is an excellent show for murder mystery fan’s, and it could also be used in your own murder mystery evening.  Highly Suspect do offer their services for such occasions and their excellent website has information on parties where they will organise a performance of an interactive mystery.

If you want an interactive show with saucy gags by the spadesful, then this is the show for you.  It isn’t a play in the traditional sense of the word, but it is huge fun.

If you wish to watch this play then go to https://online.thespaceuk.com/watch-shows/theatre   There is an option to donate as the show is offered for free, the cast and creatives will only be remunerated from donations received.  Highly Suspect’s own website can be found at https://www.highlysuspect.co.uk/fringe-2020-central and by following this link it will take you to the evidence and solution to be used in conjunction with the play.

Reviewer: Caroline Worswick

Reviewed: 18th August 2020

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★