"Murder Mystery Whodunnit On Board"
by Cheryl Rowlands for remotegoat on 05/06/18

This play was written by the Founder of OOOH ARRR Productions, Jack Turner, which I was really looking forward to watching as I love murder mysteries. It is a great production and with a few tweaks, has a lot of potential.

The action began (pre-show) with elderly passenger Audrey Perkins (played by Julie Clerc) joining the audience after buying her ticket. She sat at a table and made polite conversation with people as we waited for Captain Davey (John Gordon ) to announce that our ship was about to set sail whereby we took our seats as he saluted us "on board".

The scene was set with the twists and turns of the relationships between the ship's crew with the reknowned author and subsequent murder victim, Mr Weeks. Each one of them had a motive for killing him and later on the audience were taken somewhat by surprise when asked to stand up depending upon whom they thought was the guilty party, and I was totally shocked when it was revealed who the murderer actually was.

There were some comic moments such as the characters arguing between theselves, but at times I found the plot to be a little confusing. Throughout the play, five gunshots could be heard and at one point I thought there were five murders, however it was just the one. Several sounds of gunshots could be heard at various times throughout the play along with the inevitable scream or "Urrgh". I was slightly confused and all these gunshots were not entirely explained.

The timing of the sound effect and the slap across the face between Sarah and Rose was excellent.

Captain Davy declared that he was not guilty of the murder, despite carrying a gun and threatening Rose if she dare tell anyone when she found out, as he rightly pointed out, Weeks was stabbed and not shot. However I was also confused over the Captain when he was writing his note to the passengers. Was it a murder or a sinking?


Sarah Clevedon (played by Sophie Maindonald - also debuting as Direcctor) said she did not murder Weeks (who just happened to be her father).

Rose (played by regular Lottie Elcoate) was Weeks's ex and a very angry ex at that. She was a rival author and both her and Weeks's books were on sale on board placing her very firmly as a possible murder suspect. However, she of course, denied being responsible.

Suddenly, out of the blue - the old lady confessed!! She announced that she stabbed him with her knitting needles although I missed the motive. It was not entirely clear (although I may not have understood her explanation, or missed something she said as it was difficult at times to understand what she was saying).

All in all, the tiny cast made a fine effort of playing to such a small audience which is always a challenge - especially when it comes to encouraging the audience at "Audience Participation Time"!!

INTERMISSION - not really needed as the play was only an hour long, but perhaps it was because directly prior, there was the sound of another gunshot, so it was timed as a cliffhanger. If so, it wasn't helped by blackout curtains that didn't really do the job adequately (being that it was an extremely hot and bright sunny afternoon), which meant that Ed Monster Stage Electrical couldn't make effective use of the blackout with their lighting and sounds effects - not their fault. Good use was made of a projector screen which projected certain info throughout the performance which was nice.

For me, the suspense hadn't been built enough for the cliffhanger which was a shame, but with a few tweaks, it could be a really exciting play. It all just felt a little awkward which was a shame.

Some decent blackout curtains, atmospheric lighting and incidental music may have helped to move the production along. I didn't feel that the audience were as gripped as they could have been however in time and with a bit of tweaking, it could be a very exciting production.

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