An online bite-sized musical murder mystery? A Killer Party boasts a strong cast if not quite the killer instinct
“Did you always want to work as a traffic warden?’
Did you always want to work in an unviable industry?'”
A Killer Party is a curious thing. A murder mystery musical broken up into 9 episodes which can be watched at your own pace, it wears its lockdown origins a little too closely given how far the quality of digital theatre offerings have come over the last few months.
Written by Rachel Axler and Kait Kerrigan (book), Jason Howland (music), and Nathan Tysen (lyrics) and adapted for British audiences following its US-centric debut last years, we follow the case of Varthur McArthur, the artistic director of Blackpool’s
smallest regional theatre who is offed during a read-through for his latest production. Who’s your suspect? Take your pick from any of the theatrical stereotypes on offer.
Benji Sperring’s production is certainly good-natured and has lots of charm to it. How could it not, when it features an ensemble that includes Debbie Kurup, Harriet Thorpe, Cedric Neal and also Ben Forster playing (a version of) himself. And if none of the tunes really establish themselves in Howland’s contemporary pop score, they’re very listenable.
But something didn’t quite work for me. In part, I think it was due to watching all the episodes at once. The structure of the show is genuinely episodic so elements of repetitiveness do creep in whilst bingeing. I also found the whole thing not quite sure of itself, as campy fun rubs shoulders uneasily with something that it taking itself a bit more seriously.