Set in the 1950s in a quaint little place aptly called Murder Village, this improvised whodunnit developed and directed by Australian improviser and comedian David Massingham draws inspiration from the likes of Agatha Christie, with a hint of noir detective styles to create a unique pantomime which promises that no two shows are the same.

Each night the victim, murderer and murder weapon are decided by a secret online ballot, with audiences asked to scan a QR code at the venue and complete a brief questionnaire before the performance begins (so allow yourself plenty of time to cast your vote). Armed with the results and a handful of suggestions, the talented (or should we say brave?) cast take to the stage to craft and deliver a storyline which is constantly evolving as the show unfolds.

With 28 potential characters, audiences do not know who they will have the pleasure of meeting until the performance begins. On this night we were introduced to an eccentric group of individuals including a ditzy pharmacy dispenser, a privileged socialite, a pompous judge and a gruff dog catcher, as well as two lovably aloof detectives.

The talented cast of improvisers from Melbourne were clearly having fun on stage and each brought their characters to life with expressive facial movements, while descriptive language was used to paint a picture of the unfolding events. There were times when the actors muddled up their lines or broke character to laugh at the unexpectedly absurd twists the story was taking, and half the fun was watching them struggle to stay professional in the ridiculous, occasionally illogical situations that arose.

Murder Village uses a soundtrack of classic detective film sounds which perfectly complemented the scene unfolding on stage. From the rising tempo that accompanied an accusation, to the timeless “dah dah dahh!” sound that accompanied the uncovering of a pivotal clue and the revelation of the murderer’s identity, each effect was perfectly timed and delivered.

A fun way to spend an evening,

Murder Village: An Improvised Whodunnit Comedy plays at The Dom Polski Centre until March 10.

Read more 2024 Adelaide Fringe coverage here on InReview.

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