Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: Parlour Games

Was it The Major, The Writer, The Servant, The Drunk, The Emigré, The Hostess, The Number 1 Fan or The Doctor?

This fresh 'who dunnit' murder mystery is the perfect example of a well casted piece of theatre magic that will leave the audience guessing until the very end.

Presented By: The Green Guys Company
Reviewed: 16 February 2021

Was it The Major, The Writer, The Servant, The Drunk, The Emigré, The Hostess, The Number 1 Fan or The Doctor? Parlour Games, presented by The Green Guys Company, is a fresh, new murder mystery premiering at Holden Street Theatres this Adelaide Fringe.

The show centres around 8 strangers who are invited to attend a book-signing for author Agatha Christie’s newest book, only to find the unthinkable – someone has murdered Christie herself. What follows is an hour of twists and turns as each character’s life is brought into the spot light and interrogated until the real murderer is discovered. Who that is…’ll just have to get a ticket and discover for yourself.

The script mixes fact and fiction from Christie’s life and almost perfectly captures the nuances of the year 1926. The only disjoint of Neale Irwin’s script is the dropping of the F-bomb. I’m not saying this was offensive at all, nor do I get offended by the use of the word, it just felt very disjointed from the rest of the script. It did get a laugh, and set up several further comic lines, but it seemed a little out of place for 1926.

The cast for this production has clearly been carefully chosen. Each member portrayed their characters perfectly. Parlour Games is the perfect example of how an ensemble who works tightly together, can create theatre magic. Daniel Hamilton (The Servant), Arran Beattie (The Writer), Hayden Stanes (The Doctor), Alexandra Schulze (The Emigré), James Harvey (The Major), Rachael Horbelt (The Drunk) each hold their accents, character and stage presence well. However, it’s Deborah Caddy (The Number 1 Fan) and Luca Sardelis (The Hostess) who really own this show. They both have a commanding stage presence that is hard to be beaten. Both bring so much light and shade to their characters that it was hard to not be focused entirely on their performances, and not watching what else is going on around them.

There is an audience interactive component of the show. Towards the end of the show, you are invited to submit, via a QR-code, your guess on who committed the crime. This adds a great element and allows those of us who were paying attention to the tiniest of details to have a crack at solving the crime.

Zoe Tidemann‘s direction is excellent. There was the occasional dead moment on stage, due to a slow line delivery, but I’m sure the few moments like this will smooth themselves out over the run. There was one direction choice that did not sit well with me, and several audience members who I overheard after the show, that perhaps needs some re adjusting. In the current climate of COVID-19, there is a gag where tea is spat out of a character’s mouth. Currently, it’s spat towards the audience. Since we are all needing to cough and sneeze into our elbows, perhaps this should be re-directed to happen upstage, not towards the un-expecting audience. (I need to add this is not blocked close to the edge of the stage and at no point does the audience get sprayed).

The lighting design adds depth to the show, as does the sound-scape. However, there are a few times that certain sound effects dominate the dialogue (the phone ringing for example). Costuming matches the era perfectly, as does the set and set dressing. (I wish that those responsible could be named as credit is deserved!).

Holden Street Theatre always assembles a fantastic Adelaide Fringe program, and this year is no exception. Parlour Games runs until Sunday February 28, and with several shows already sold out, don’t miss seeing this fresh take on a ‘who dunnit’ mystery.

Reviewed By: Ben Stefanoff
Twitter: @theartsislife

Rating out of 5: 4.5

Venue: The Arch – Holden Street Theatres
Season: Tuesday 16 Feb – Sunday 28 Feb – Various times
Duration: 1 hour
Tickets: from $22.00





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