Somewhat new to the interactive theatre scene, and a little suspicious of what I would find, Adam Riches: The Beakington Town Hall Murders was an unexpected delight.
Viktor Legit is a great piece of character work.
It is a fairly simple premise – a sort of 200 person murder mystery. Upon entering the hall we are each handed an envelope and told not to open it. Then we meet our main man – Adam Riches – at this time playing a bumbling local council official who informs us there has been a ghastly murder. And not just any old murder, but the murder of ten innocent tortoises.
Riches in this character is hilarious and totally sets up the beginning of the show with a seriously engaging performance. He instructs us to open our envelopes and just one among us finds out he is the killer. He is asked to stand up and we are all brought in on the secret. There is some filler then provided from Riches’ sidekick ‘Tension’ (a guy in a black morph suit wearing a string of fairy lights – I promise it is less odd than it sounds) and then Riches is back this time as Viktor Legit.
Viktor Legit is a great piece of character work; a booming, leather-clad, muscle-suit-wearing tough guy with a sleazy, but kind of cool, streak and he is here to solve the crime. Through some fairly paltry deductions (this audience basically give away the killer with their laughter) he does, over the course of an hour, suss who’dunnit.
The whole audience is involved in different aspects of the investigation, some more than others, with melon-punching competitions, en-mass Who’s Who, lettuce rolling and more party poppers than you can shake a stick at. Sound like a confusing mess? It is, but it is delightful. I don’t think the point is to watch some seemingly magic mind reading but instead to enjoy the pure unadulterated silliness of this whole affair and enjoy Legit’s cringey jokes. The whole audience spends most of the show in fits of giggles and it is fun to be in an interactive show when every single person is involved, not just the front row (oh yes, there are NO safe seats).
There are a few absolute corkers of jokes, I almost stopped breathing in the mirror bit (you’ll know if you see it) but overall it is just a good time. It’s not ground breaking theatre and it's not the greatest murder mystery ever to be solved, but it certainly one of the most fun Fringe shows I’ve seen.