Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder

Jon Brittain and Matthew Floyd Jones
Francesca Moody Productions, Kater Gordon, Wessex Grove, Fiery Angel, Underbelly
Underbelly, George Square

Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder

There is something utterly glorious in this production of a podcast whodunnit. It has live music, chutzpah and enthusiasm in abundance. We have song, dance moves and murder. We may not have Streep, Martin, Short or Gomez but the premise is similar—this is all about a true crime podcast which becomes part of the story.

And the story goes that Felicia Taylor, doyen of all true crime aficionados who is the brave woman who solved the case of the Hull Decapitator, is back in town. Kathy and Stella, our heroines and the presenters of their own true crime podcast from the garage of Kathy’s house, find that they have a chance to pitch themselves for opportunities that Taylor can bring.

They rock up and find that Taylor is dismissive before what you expect to happen happens to such a stereotypical arrogant lead character—she gets murdered. Oh, and she gets murdered like the victims of the Hull Decapitator, suggesting that the person she named as the guilty man—Billy Fingers—might not be the guilty man after all. Billy committed suicide, just after she named him as the perpetrator, so there is not a criminal in a cell to be liberated by Kathy and Stella. Nevertheless, they set about solving the new case of Felicia Taylor.

And they do—it’s a show that does precisely what it says on the title. Along the way, there’s plenty of standard twists: the mortuary technician who gets framed, the arrival of Felicia’s sister, Patrica, and then her brother, Horatio who names the wrong culprit are but a few.

There are therefore narrative twists to be expected: Kathy and Stella are tighter than two coats of paint as friends at the beginning, but things start to fall apart when Stella doctors evidence and Kathy finds her calling. They fall apart and those they thought judged them prove to be those who were their biggest supporters. It ends with all back the way it was, and the fame and fortune promised put to one side in favour of more wholesome morality.

There is a slickness about this production which includes big musical numbers sold with great skill in a production filled with tremendous enthusiasm, but it does tend to give you what you expect rather than provide a clever plot line or two. The twist over who happens to be the murderer is something which, like Kathy, you could spot miles before the revelation, but it is such delicious fun. It’s more Midsomer Murders than Poirot or Holmes, but tremendous fun nonetheless.

Reviewer: Donald C Stewart

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