Comedy review: Adam Riches: The Beakington Town Hall Murders, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

Can you solve the Beakington Town Hall Murders?
Can you solve the Beakington Town Hall Murders?
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Notepads out. There’s been a murder, as they say near here. Murder most foul.

Adam Riches: The Beakington Town Hall Murders, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh * * * *

Murder most reptilian, actually, and mass murder at that. Only last night, the Beakington Town Hall Christmas party turned homicidal when ten tortoises were ripped untimely from a spinning tombola. Hence, this emergency meeting of the town council, a civic body made up entirely of Adam Riches audience members.

Riches greets council members individually as we step through a curtain of incident tape. Festive paper hats are provided though the catering only extends to a solitary spring roll. But you can’t put a price on the knowledge shared by this assembly who were all eye witnesses to the heinous homicide - as well as potential suspects.

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At this surreal and silly murder mystery party, all the sleuthing falls to one man, high on Yakult. Detective Victor Legit, a suave persuader and terrifying interrogator in the style of The Sweeney, aims to solve the crime in about 45 minutes, using his entirely unfathomable powers of deduction. Irrelevant exhibits are passed round, witnesses are questioned on an entirely random basis, the pitiful crime scene is recreated, the unwieldy but generally pliable pool of suspects is whittled down using profiling (“the thinking man’s bigotry”) until Riches/Legit subjects the final two suspects to an extremely silly final line-up in the style of a Shooting Starstiebreaker.

Miraculously, on the night in question, he correctly collared the culprit for the first time in this Fringe run. But it’s the taking part in this highly enjoyable, moderately immersive multi-player game of groans rather than the sweet tang of justice served that counts.

Until 26 August

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