The question that arises during the viewing of Whodidit, a spoof murder mystery that riffs on long running mega-success The Mouse Trap among others, is not the eponymous one but a more profound, introspective one; why? Why have they done this? Why, for all things high and mighty, is this play so bad after 24 years in development? And why, for the love of all things past, present and future, all things dead, living and yet to come, all things that lie under the stars and majesty of heaven, am I here?
Ham-A-Lot Theatre proclaim their show will captivate, amuse and titillate. That it is absurd, zany and full of innuendo. Whodidit does not and is not any of these things. It will bore, depress and anaesthetise. It is sullen, sour and empty. Even the innuendo, which is seen by some as the lowest and easiest form of humour, fails to hit a single mark in this nosedive show. Allow me to recite one such joke to you here; “if the murderer didn't come through the front door, he must be a back door man!” That, my fellow Fringers, is as an astute an example of Whodidit as I can muster. A tired, offensive, historic colloquialism about homosexuality.
As you read, picture me sat in Pleasance Courtyard, sucking hard on five cigarettes at a time, draining beer after beer after beer, clawing desperately at the wooden table as I search my notes and memory for a single moment of joy in this show. Alas, I cannot find one. Looking through my notes the only discernible sentence I can find from the mad scrawling of pain that covers every page is one sentence, 'what is happening?!'
The writing in Whodidit is of a standard so low it's hard to even describe it as something that has been written. The acting, from a troupe who I assume are a local amateur company, is lifeless, painful and wretched. I feel genuinely upset to see these people wasting their precious time. These innocent people with hopes and dreams mindlessly throwing themselves around in search of a laugh. The only perk of this show, if I am forced to admit one, is that it runs 15 minutes shorter than advertised.
Avoid. For your own sanity. Please.