The Murderer

Through innovative movement and a thought-provoking script, Clown Funeral’s dark yet comedic The Murderer comments intelligently on society's inability to forgive and forget, by documenting the ‘progress’ of a murderer undergoing a rehabilitation programme. The controlling carer he is housed with limits free time, bans knives, and notes down his every move with a dictaphone. With so much stacked against him, how will the murderer ever break out of his role?

the cast were completely in sync; I didn't spot one mistake

The physical staging was absolutely the stand-out feature of this production. Three different sized frames were skillfully employed in an array of scenes, representing rooms in a house, the windows of a kiosk, and the windows of a taxi. The movement between the actors was very well-choreographed and timed to perfection. Conversations would often take place with the speakers facing away from each other and yet when passing imaginary items to each other the cast were completely in sync. I didn't spot one mistake.

The cast members switch roles for each performance, though on the day I attended, some acting let down the overall show. Sam Thorogood played ‘Everyone Else’, meaning he was literally every character apart from the murderer and the carer. He adopted a jolly and enthusiastic Boy Scout persona which was perfect for the murderer’s care manager; however, there was little discernible difference in his multitude of other roles throughout the piece. His comic performances were amusing but could have benefited from diversity. As the carer, Ella Tebey lived up to the cold and serious nature of the role, but she could have gone further to appear more unnerving, especially as the carer’s obsession with the murderer took hold. A lack of clear projection also made it difficult to hear her lines over the music. The murderer, played by Patrick Tobin, had a good passivity to him, but this unfortunately veered too close to wooden acting. Nevertheless, his aloofness convincingly emphasised the stupidity of all the restrictions around the murderer.

Were the acting performances brought up to the standard of the physical theatre, the show would be absolutely spell-binding. As it stands, The Murderer is worth seeing for its comedy, creativity and comments on society. 

Reviews by Carla van der Sluijs

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

‘I have a murderer in my house. It’s all perfectly fine.’ In a world where citizens rehabilitate criminals, the Carer and the Murderer go for coffee and play badminton. Clown Funeral’s new adaptation of Luke Kennard’s darkly comic poem tells the story of their unusual relationship, questions how easily we can forgive someone and asks to what extent our obsessions can consume us. Using an electrifying style that blends surreal humour, subtle physical theatre and Noir-inspired scenes, Clown Funeral bring the isolated and offbeat world of The Murderer to life. Selected for New Diorama’s Emerging Graduate Companies Programme.

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