“Roll Back and Die” at Little Chicago, Sheffield
Bobby Anderson is co-artistic director of Stürike Comedy, the house team of Little Chicago. In this column he reviews the acts that perform and lets you know where to find more of them.
Muder Inc. is an improvised murder mystery from Manchester. This was the second outing of their new show and by gosh they’ve nailed it; a great mix of laugh out loud moments, emotionally rounded characters, games, and silly puns.
The show opens with a surprising number of gets from the audience: we are first given the option of three settings for the show. In our case the Wild West, a desert island or Asda, each with a silly pun of a title; we chose Asda and the show “Roll Back and Die”. We then assigned each character a roll within Asda, and gave each adjacent pair the location of their scenes within Asda. This may seem like a lot to get from an audience, but having given us the location to focus our minds the audience were more than capable of coming up with all this rather quickly and the show kicked off with great energy.
Also at the start of the show we were given a small handout on which we would be deducing the suspect and motive throughout the performance. This is a fantastic way to engage the audience by making a small competition, with prize, out of the performance. You could immediately see several members of the audience hunker down and squint at each member of the cast to get the measure of them. The improvisers in the audience obviously got distracted coming up with witty team names.
And then begins the three acts of the piece. First we La Ronde around the cast at their given locations setting up the perfect amount of drama, backstory and motive for wanting anyone in the cast dead. The pacing is excellent as we slowly speed up over the course of three rotations until eventually we end this section with a murder off stage (gasps all round), accompanied by murder puns the CSI: Miama writers would be jelous of, and one member of the cast revealing themself to have been a detective all along (further gasps.) The second act is our detective interviewing the three suspects, with flashbacks to key moments with the murder victim giving us further motive. A small break gives the audience the opportunity to submit the names of their chosen suspect, and we return to finish with the grand reveal in whatever the Asda equivalent of the drawing room is.
This show was a great way to kick off improv in Sheffield this year. A solid hour of fun and deduction. You can catch Muder Inc at the Ape and Apple in Manchester, 1st and 2nd Thursday of the month.
RATING: ***** 5 stars: The funniest murder mystery you’ll see this year.