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Til Death Do Us Part: An Interactive Murder Mystery - Back Door Productions (Fringe World 2024)

Reviewed by Kate O'Sullivan

 

It's not a wedding without something going wrong, and this time...it's murder. Back Door Productions have put together another interactive murder mystery at Connections, something that is becoming a regular feature of the FRINGE WORLD season.


This year's presentation is wedding-themed, with the happy couple, bridesmaids, groomsmen, a wedding singer and a waiter...and a couple of murders sprinkled in for good measure. This theme works well compared to some previous seasons, as the well-trodden plot gives the audience clear character tropes (the overbearing maid-of-honour, the ladsy best man etc) and a recognisable plot to go along with. But because the audience gets their opportunity to decide who's being taken off in handcuffs at the end of the show, I will endeavour to avoid any spoilers.


The archetypical characters are well portrayed by this group of performers, many of whom have been in these interactive murder mysteries before. There is a little weakness in some of the writing of the groomsmen, and the waiter feels a little shoe-horned in, as we aren't given a lot of explanation for their context in the initial scene setting, but this is more a fault of the script than the performers. With a couple of well-sung numbers from our wedding singer and a neatly choreographed, character-driven 'first dance' sequence, the show pulls you along with little resistance.


It is always risky to have whole-audience participation in a show, but the 'detective squad' do this well throughout the interrogation and investigation sequence. It would be nice for the detectives to all have some unifying costume piece (a matching hat, sunglasses, a shirt or similar) just to help identify them within the crowd, but they all do a good job of keeping the groups pacy and engaged while moving throughout the space. It is hard to know how this show would go on a night when the audience was less keen to be involved, but on the night I saw it, the questioning was flowing freely.


From a technical standpoint, there are a couple of small issues with sound balance in the songs (something I'm sure that will improve). It's also unfortunate that some conversations between characters that take place off to the side of the audience happen in the dark, especially given we are told that we should be paying attention to everything that is happening. For the most part, the space works for the interrogations, but there is a bit of a squish when it comes to the investigation of objects. This is more of a venue issue, but you may want to make sure you're at the front of the group for the sections back and on stage. Some of the key observable things are also a little too faint to see, which could easily lead a group up the garden path so to speak.


A great choice of show for the lovers of a whodunnit, a good bit of interactive theatre or just those who want to see something different. Definitely the best I've seen of the Back Door Productions interactive murder mysteries.


Image credit: Kate O'Sullivan

Reviewer Note: A shortened version of this review was originally written for FringeFeed. Approval for a longer review was provided by the theatre company.

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