November 29, 2012

Bloody Murder

Last night was the premiere of The Hobbit, if you weren’t inconvenienced getting through town you would have seen it on TV or noticed the promotions for the last few weeks. In a much quieter way it was the opening night of Bloody Murder at the Hutt Repertory Theatre (Theatre 108). It was the first time the play has been performed outside of America and it opened to a full house.

It’s the classic setting for a good old English murder mystery; a house party with guests who are strangers to each other invited by a grand lady they have never met for who knows what purpose. The regular set of characters are assembled; the ingéne, the seductress, the wastrel, the faded actor, the foreigner, the maid.

Hutt Repertory’s production is by no means on par with the The Mousetrap* (the most recent theatre I have seen) but has its own charm. The choice of script was itself excellent; I don’t think many larger companies would dare to stage it. The show was carried by the strong female actors (Zen Nielson and Ruth Sarratt) or perhaps it was the strength of their characters – where does character end and actor begin? The set and costuming helped to create a timeless English residence for the characters to move about in.

Bloody Murder reminded me of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village with its capacity to confuse and entice as well as the ever present plot twists (but wait! there’s another one!). Much like The Village the entire storyline needs to be presented for any of the performance to be appreciated.

Ed Sala (the author) inspired by his own “odd, wayward thoughts,” Gosford Park, Agatha Christie and “other British murder mystery writers” has created something unique that looks at the very fabric of murder mystery – the plot, the characters and how it all seems a little contrived. It is a commentary on the relationship between creator and creation that almost waxes philosophical, but don't think it's dry - I spent a good half of the performance laughing.

Support community theatre and see Bloody Murder

*but much more affordable!

Showing: 28 November – 8 December
Price: $20/18
Bookings: or call 939 7529

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