Friday, 26 October 2012

Review: Marcia Murray MacDonald's Midnight Halloween Murder Mystery

By Rachel Taylor

I love shows with a difference.
Why use a conventional theatre space when you
can utilise an entire building, multiple great sets without scene changes and have the atmosphere already buzzing when your audience walk in?
The performance of the Junior Sleuths course – “Marcia Murray MacDonald's Midnight
Halloween Murder Mystery” – ticked all of these boxes and more. The young actors became a
gaggle of nightmarish creatures, but wouldn’t you know it:
There’s been a murder! Or, well, there would be.
But first there was a Halloween documentary for the cast to set about. The audience for the show became the audience for their documentary and was enthralled and entertained watching arguments over roles, props and interpretation. We were entertained by adorably dense witches, game-loving zombie twins, the cutest ghost in history, a mad scientist (with a true love for Cosmo the cat), a rather tall pumpkin, a demoted cat, Dracula with a secret, an unimpressed devil and, of course, Marcia, who played a star turn as the overbearing star and producer of the piece along with her cameraman.
However, the audience were not just there to observe. Each audience member was given a pack at the start of the show to facilitate their job: be keeping an eye out for a murderer in their midst. Clues, hints and red herrings abounded as the group moved through the building from room-to-room and the antics progressed, spattered with stories, songs and Halloween games – the last being great for further audience involvement.
Every location in the building was brilliantly prepared, with eerie lighting and fun props – from the cauldron in the witches’ hovel to the sugar doughnuts strung up in the zombies’ games room!
All too soon, the audience arrived in the last room – the main studio. The cast gathered on a truly beautiful set for a banquet with Dracula…but one of the guests wasn’t eating much…
The final scene was dramatic and brilliantly executed. Encompassing a beautiful tableau, it was a masterful scene that belied the youth of the actors.
Finally the cast congregated in front of their detective audience for a Q&A session, which brought forth some impressive improvising and, eventually, a confession.
It was, all round, an incredible show. The Scottish theatre scene should watch out – it doesn’t know what’s hit it with the SYT kids!!