Aridhi Anderson is a theatremaker, performer and reviewer based in Melbourne. Check out her work at aridhianderson.com.
A delightfully silly murder mystery at the Comedy Festival
Denouement (written and produced by James Hazelden & Nicholas Rasche, directed by James Hazelden) is playing at La Mama Courthouse from 3 - 7 April 2019, and is the perfect Comedy Festival pick for fans of the murder mystery genre. It's a traditional format play, set in an English drawing room in an imprecise part of the 20th century, and feels like a delightful cross between an episode from an old detective series, a Monty Python sketch, and a game of Cluedo.
Mr Brady, a successful playwright, has been murdered in his home. The maid, who is certainly not guilty, has been arrested for the crime. Mr Brady's family embarks on a quest to uncover the truth, with the help of their family lawyer and a private investigator. Deductions abound and shocking family secrets are revealed, threatening scandal upon Mr Brady's widow Sadie, their son John, and John's wife Vera. A series of completely unexpected twists and subversive surprises follow, which despite being unpredictable, results in a strong denouement, satisfactorily resolved.
Denouement is an entertaining yet relaxing experience, maintaining a strong fourth wall throughout the show, and delivering a very standard experience of non-standard content. It's a show with a lot of old-style charm, for which it stands out among other offerings at the Comedy Festival. Among performances, Kathryn Tohill's cynical and sarcastic portrayal of Vera, Chris Saxton's adorable, dense portrayal of John, and Kimberley Duband's endearing portrayal of Constable Saunders stand out the most, although Mark Woodward, Chris Tomkins and Emily Rowe also all have their moments where they shine. There are a lot of laughs to be had in this show, and each character is developed exactly as they should be to make that happen.
If you're a fan of murder mysteries, have a taste for absurdist humour and straight-out silliness, enjoy old-style theatre presentations and want to check something out at the Comedy Festival, you can't go wrong booking into Denouement.