In the same week that The Mousetrap reopens at St Martins Theatre, this contemporary and somewhat naughty tribute to the world of murder mystery created by Agatha Christie is back to offer some much needed laughs.
Murder by ninja? Check. Murder by a crispy pancake? Check. A cast of vibrant personalities with excellent comic timing? Check – Death Drop is a fun-filled and somewhat charmingly chaotic play in which to celebrate the return of West End theatre.
Written by Holly Stars, Death Drop sees a collection of guests gathering on Tuck island to mark the 10th anniversary of Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding anniversary at a dinner party hosted by Lady Von Fistenburg. But its not long until the body count starts rising – with all kinds of tension between the guests building, its not clear that anyone will make it away from this dinner party alive.
While initially the play takes a little time to get going as the audience is introduced to all the key characters, it soon develops into an engaging mystery that showcases the talents of all those involved perfectly as accusations fly around. Directed by Jesse Jones, this is a high energy and flamboyant production that has a touch of a pantomime feel (in a good way) about it that keeps the audience thoroughly engaged and keeps them guessing as to which ridiculous way the next guest is going to meet their demise.
Everything about Death Drop feels delightfully over the top, with the bold colour and design choice of set by Justin Williams adding to the flamboyancy perfectly, while I adored the precision in terms of timing with regards to the sound effects and lighting that helped build up the tension perfectly. It has all been perfectly streamlined in terms of comic timing that it never feels flat – in particular an impressive scene comprised of tongue twisters or an impromptu dance to ‘I’m Too Sexy’ are two real highlight sections.
While the script can on occasion come across as slightly too lurid (for my taste) in places, with the ongoing toilet joke feeling a little bit much at times, there is no denying the sharpness of the humour that emerges – with everyone from the royal family to the conservatives being made fun of.
The cast offer wonderful performances, all bouncing off one another with great style. In particular, Willam Belli as the former pop star Shazza makes for a delightful diva – hair tossing and all , Latrice Royale is wonderfully sassy as Summer, Don One as Phil is suitably sleazy and Myra Dubois as Lady Von Fistenburg holds together the action nicely.
Bold, brash and over the top it might not be everyone’s cup of tea -but it does make for a nice contrast to The Mousetrap (which has also started welcoming back audiences this week)- to offer some much needed live and in person laughs.
By Emma Clarendon