Camden Fringe 2019: A Shoddy Detective & The Art of Deception at Lion & Unicorn Theatre
A Shoddy Detective & The Art of Deception delivers a few great laughs and a satisfying contribution to the detective comedy genre. This is a standard whodunnit with a wink at the audience.
The play begins as a priceless painting disappears at an auction staged in a Lord’s home. The bumbling detective, Brian Taylor (Josh Thompson), is called upon to find the culprit and the stolen art. Things go awry when the detective chief inspector assigns him to work with his arch nemesis, the thief Dustin Wills (Zach Devereux). Together, the unlikely duo interrogate the staff and residents of the Lord’s manor and uncover a deeper network of crimes and mysteries.
The characters’ antics rise with the tension of the unravelling mystery. All six of the Shoddy Theatre’s company members trained extensively in stage combat, which they show off brilliantly in multiple raucous fight scenes. The slapstick comedy arrives at just the right time and in between a few classic one-liners.
While the Shoddy Theatre might lack in resources, they deliver an enjoyable performance by leaning into their name. With shoddy props, shoddy costumes and shoddy puns, the cast layers on a degree of self-awareness that fills in for moments in which the play slows down.
If anything, the show is worth seeing for Mitch Donaldson’s simultaneous performance of two characters in a ridiculous love-hate relationship. Also, Lucy Wordsworth always knows how to make people laugh with her characterisation of the bumbling maid, Nora, while also taking every chance to throw in an extra bit in the background of other scenes.
The play has a few side-splitting lines and fulfils the classic mystery-comedy at every point. Watching A Shoddy Detective & The Art of Deception with a few friends is a fun, lighthearted night out. It’s a generally enjoyable evening of character types falling into a medley of shenanigans.
A Shoddy Detective & The Art of Deception is at Lion & Unicorn Theatre from 15th until 18th August 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
For further information about Camden Fringe 2019 visit the festival website here.