WORTH A LOOK?: ****
WHERE? Studio 5ive, the Troubadour, Wembley Park Theatre RUNTIME: 150 minutes (including three breaks for three courses)
WHEN? 8/3, booking to 29/3/20
Immersive theatre is all the rage and here award-winning Fat Rascal Theatre serve up three courses around a murder mystery dining experience.
- Read on for reasons including how Robyn Grant is a camp comedy star in the making
Last year the company’s Vulvarine won our Best New Musical monsta and here the always camp and larger-than-life Robyn Grant plays renowned detective and over-enthusiastic cyclist Susan Gusset (pictured above centre bottom row).
The year is 1946 and it is the grand opening night of a performance by venerated prima donna the Marchioness du Jour.
It’s Fat Rascal’s attention to detail that makes us chuckle the most and when we are handed a brochure explaining more about the Marchioness we had to scribble down some of the lines from it that make us laugh.
‘A dancer before she could walk, a mezzo soprano before she could talk, the young Marchioness was a celebrated toddler performer’. Also ‘her debut release of the aria Pygmy Goats Go Wandering In April reached number 46 on the Cornish classical charts’.
However, the Marchioness is murdered before she gets to sing a note and Gusset reveals the killer is in the room with us as we meet a string of suspects.
There are many familiar faces from Vulvarine and we particularly enjoyed the opportunity to interact with Jamie Mawson, Allie Munro and Stefan Rizzi as, respectively, characters vicar Peter Hair, psychic Madame Shel de Mage and opera singer Antonio Fingerelli. Elsewhere Francesca Fenech impresses on the piano as the Marchioness’ protege.
The venue is a restaurant with a grand piano at its heart and the action unfolds around it and us as we are seated in a ring around it. Characters stop by to chat and there’s even an opportunity to undertake some amateur sleuthing to help unmask the killer.
The original songs are always fun and lead character Gusset is blessed with a twinkle in her eye thanks to up-and-coming comedy star-in-the-making Grant.
The food is tasty, the portions generous and there’s even an opportunity to buy a ticket without food and instead order from the bar from the extremely attentive staff.
The audience was a mix of large groups, couples and solo diners proving that this sort of experience appeals to many. Although there is interaction with the cast, it was never awkward and no one from the audience is made to feel uncomfortable.
Without giving away the ending, there’s a few shocks in store and Fat Rascal prove themselves once again to be the guarantors of an extremely satisfying and funny night/matinee out. If you ever fancied yourself as a budding Miss Marple, this is the night out to try.