A Killer Party
When Varthur McArthur (Jason Manford), artistic director of a small theatre in Blackpool, calls upon local creatives to attend the read-through of his latest immersive mystery play, nothing seems particularly out of the ordinary. However, soon one of the places at the dinner table is occupied by a body, and it’s clear that the group have a real mystery on their hands. Thankfully, detective Justine Case (Emma Salvo) is on hand to solve the crime. Packed with wit, deception and absurdity, A Killer Party is a game of Cluedo brought (virtually) to life, making for a highly entertaining watch.
Framed as a nine-episode web series (with a total running time of around 90 minutes), the UK premiere of the new musical is perfect for those looking for a little theatrical escapism. A Killer Party is abundantly entertaining because it doesn’t try to be anything more than it is: a cheesy, almost farcical whodunnit, elevated by a strong contemporary pop score and stellar performances from some of the West End’s most familiar faces. While the cast as a whole are remarkable, Lucas Rush gives a standout performance in the role of Clarke Staples.
Those searching for a deeply-layered mystery plot will perhaps be disappointed by A Killer Party, which features so many twists and turns, it’s a wonder the audience don’t get whiplash. However, the purposefully nonsensical plot fits perfectly with the whodunnit sub-genre of theatre, giving the production a classic feel, despite its modernity.
While many have by now all seen their fair share of Zoom or online shows, this one stands out with its surprisingly high production values. While it is clear that each cast member filmed their scenes from the comfort of home, the material is masterfully edited together in a way that makes this decision seem deliberate, rather than circumstantial. This, of course, also leaves plenty of room for social distancing jokes.
In short, A Killer Party is an entertaining and hilarious watch, whether viewers watch the entire production in one sitting or pop on an episode each night. What’s more, the songs, written by Jason Howland and Nathan Tysenand, are sure to stick in one’s head long after watching.
A Killer Party is available to stream from 3rd May until 30th May 2021. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch a trailer for the production here: