Murder On the Disorient express live at the ADC theatre is an affable sketch show set within a murder mystery. The show begins with the murder of a cast member, after which the cast draws the audience into the investigation as potential suspects. This innovative use of meta-theatre provides a solid base for the production, keeping the audience constantly on their toes with intermittent interaction. The rest of the play is a series of unrelated sketches, and at points it is a struggle to see how they would tie the two together. However, as the play progressed the initial plot becomes more prevalent, preventing it from being too scatty.
The sketches come thick and fast with a dizzying number of both long and short, each with a new creative flourish; in particular Leonardo Dicaprio starring in a nativity play and a superhero tortoise forgetting his nunchucks are very memorable. Slapstick humour and awkward audience participation work particularly well in the marriage councillor sketch, injecting life into what would normally be a relatively pedestrian scenario. Although some of the shorter sketches need better development – a whole outfit change is required to illustrate a pretty run of the mill pun. However, these little interjections add a level of light-hearted spontaneity to the pieces which feel improvised at times.
Even when some of the jokes fall flat the cast manage to carry it through with confidence and charisma. There are sometimes moments where a sly glance at the audience manages to salvage some questionable humour and knowingly terrible puns. Notwithstanding these moments, the charm of the performers, notably Enrico Hallworth and Ruari Bride, succeed in convincing the audience of the merits of the production.
What really brought the play together was the last scene: without giving too much away, our reservations about the frame story were silenced as they managed to pull it together with a neat twist. Despite its pit-falls we came out of the theatre having thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.