October 13, 2021

Murder on a Boat

Murder on a Boat, part of the NZ Improv Festival, was my first Covid theatre experience. Bats staff were consistent and clear but I did spot several audience members skirting the rules. As improv often includes audience participation Bats were giving out spots to be placed on masks for those who chose to be involved, I do hope other theatres follow suit. It can be difficult to enjoy the show if you're terrified of becoming part of it. However, it was a moot point with this performance.

In the tradition of Agatha Christie there is a huge cast of characters (there were 11 actors on stage) ranging across the classes, from a Duchess to a servant. They are stuck together on a boat and there is *gasp* a murder. 

The ins and outs of this particular show were; an aristocratic pair of twins fighting over one of the brothers wives, their mother who was having a secret affair with a lounge singer who was best friends with the maid who assumed she looking for a rich husband, the maid was having an affair with the captain of the ship (necessitating getting rid of most of the staff to hide it) while another ship man was stealing from the passengers. And in classic style there was a detective and his side kick, who was supposed to be taking over the investigation, but his mentor wouldn't let him. The eleventh character was a servant to the Duchess and spy for the sons wife.

One of the great joys of improv is recognising when the actors are setting each other up as happened many times. The lounge singer, who was obviously supposed to sing, kept insisting that the Captain had a traditional song to sing, forcing him to sing more than she did during the performance. There was a hilarious game of whist proving that none of the actors had any idea how whist was played - then again I've never known anyone to play it outside of books.

It was an enjoyable evening and I was very impressed with the improvisors managing to recall the intricate names and tying up the various plot points satisfactorily.