You may have seen some advertising for this show around the city: it’s the poster that looks very much like an Austentatious poster. Probably just a coincidence. This is in the same ballpark as that Fringe improv behemoth, with a couple of novel touches, although the title is a bit of a misnomer.
Murder, She Didn’t Write is nothing to do with the long-running, Miss Marple-esque Angela Lansbury series, but more like an old Agatha Christie adaptation, or perhaps live-action Cluedo, given that no-one involved is ever really sure what’s going on. It’s a classic whodunit, but in this case the murderer and victim are both chosen by a random audience member, whilst being kept secret from the rest of us, which adds a bit of intrigue to the standard improvised-farce formula.
That’s useful, as from the evidence of this episode the plot thickens early on then can stretch painfully thin as the four main protagonists—and a charismatic faux-continental compere who doubles as the detective—try to conjure up a motive, method and several red herrings, then shepherd them all towards a vaguely satisfying finale. This afternoon it involves a chef-school graduation and a blood-filled turkey baster: tricky ingredients to work with.
It’s arguably a more challenging set-up than most improv shows, then, but there are some neat tricks to push things in the right direction, including a fun device to keep the actor chosen to be murdered still involved. Most of this hefty weekday crowd stick around to see the killer unmasked, too.