The Royal Court, Liverpool
Until 21st September 2019
Reviewed by Jennifer Walker
The Menlove Avenue Murder Mystery, written by Gerry Linford, rolled into the Royal Court this week, and not even Sherlock could have guessed how much of a success it would be! As the curtain rose it was clear the set designers had surpassed themselves with another impressive set. A revolving scene that managed to showcase the front of two houses complete with front gardens, and then the inside of each house separately was impressive.
The play revolves around Eddie, played to perfection by Paul Duckworth, a lover of murder mysteries, and the type of man so keen on finding crime and mystery in the everyday he was banned from his neighborhood watch. His reluctant team of eventual investigators is made up of long-suffering wife Trish, played by Pauline Fleming, daughter Phoebe, played by Olivia Sloyan, and Phoebes friend Josh, played by Michael Pearce.
Their new neighbours, and the cause of Eddies investigations, are Greta, played by the hilarious Gillian Hardy and Martin, played by the wonderfully versatile Liam Tobin.
Every family has conversations wondering about the odd strange noise from next door, but Eddie’s obsession with crime, and his suspicions about his naughty neighbours, leads us on quite the comical journey. The comedy really hits its peak at both sides of property line in the second act, with lots of amusing curtain twitching and familiar family tensions, but the scene stealer was, without a doubt, Gillian Hardy. Her facial expressions and sassy shenanigans had the whole place howling with laughter.
Special mention must also be made of Liam Tobin, as well as being the other half to Hardy’s delightful performance, he was simply brilliant paying homage to the murder mysteries of years gone by, especially by playing Columbo as a figment of Eddie’s imagination.
The entire cast deserved the standing ovation they received.
Overall a really enjoyable show, even for those who are not mystery fans. As Columbo himself might say, just one more thing…. it would be a crime to miss this hilarious show!