I’m going to start this week’s musical review with a little story. A few years ago a youth club I was apart of organised a murder mystery night where everyone was given a character persona and encouraged to wear fancy dress. The event was ‘set’ on a boat where the captain of the boat was murdered in a brief blackout. I personally was given the role of an English spy who was double agent posing as a German spy (yes it was a difficult role to really portray but I tried my best) and I have to be honest it was one of the best party experiences I have ever done so when I learnt about the new musical soundtrack for “A Killer Party” which is a musical murder mystery set on a boat. Unlike the party I went to, ‘A Killer Party’ is crammed full of musical theatre stars including Alex Newell, Jeremy Jordan and Micheal James Scott among others and I was a bit worried that this star-studded cast may hinder the show itself but the creatives behind this show combatted this perfectly. This musical is a series available online (that you can purchase the full series for £7.88 on their website) that has been produced during lockdown and takes place totally through video calling which is fantastic. The reason for this format is because it has been created during the COVID lockdown but you wouldn’t be able to tell. The quality of this show (once you get past the separate spaces each actor is occupying in the call) is so high that it could have easily been made in non-lockdown time with every song in this playlist is incredible and was the narrative is very entertaining.
As I have said this show is crammed full of phenomenal songs that would be at home in any modern-day musical. The opening number in this show titled “Smeuth in Duluth” is your, almost Disney inspired classical musical theatre opening song that creates a sense of mystery that bridges the gap from the outside world into the setting of the show. This is obviously particularly important when the show doesn’t take place in the theatre so that transition is very important. The preceding song and titular song “A Killer Party” is a song about someone writing a murder mystery musical which introduces the audience to the characters involved and their stories so far. This helps to explain key narrative points as well as why everyone is on a boat which in turn gives most characters a purpose within the story. This is a show perfect for modern-day musical theatre fans as it posses numerous reference that any theatre nerd would relate to. The show talks about modern-day issues and references popular culture including one hilarious reference to the app Tik Tok, complete with a related musical interlude that was relevant to what they were discussing. Also in this song titled “I’m stuck,” I believe they were back-handily talking about quarantine and what people have been doing to stop boredom with is not only relevant to today but also was hilarious in equal measures. My personal favourite number in the entire show was the song “Circus On The Sea” which is a moving and emotional number performed by Alex Newel. I never realised how great a performer Alex is as I am only familiar with them because of Glee. While Glee is a singer based show there has been a lot of discussion about the performance elements that have slightly tarnished the performers from the show so I was so surprised when Alex delivered this incredibly moving number. Their voice worked beautifully with the melody and the nature of the song and I could listen to it over and over again and never get bored!
The song “Never Miss My Mark” is absolutely a song of two parts. Starting with the stereotypical highly driven theatre female who is desperate to shine on stage but then later turns to the perspective of the writer in a way that was not confusing or complex. The two singers perform this song as a duet with the two voices blending together perfectly. A highlight in this entire show has to be Jeremy Jordan, who is a well known musical theatre performer, who within this musical plays himself which was perfect. He managed to perform the role excellently (note the obvious sarcasm) but the almost caricature he created of himself fitted flawlessly into the song “Big Cat” which is one of the funniest numbers I have heard in a long time. This number is an unusual hybrid of motivational and comedic that worked mostly in part to both Jeremy’s celebrity status and personality. The finale number “Requiem for an A-hole” was another comedy song that at the same time of humouring the listeners it also highlights how we all do bad things in our lifetime but at the end, it’s all about how we impacted other people’s lives which in my opinion is a great way to end the show!
Overall, this is a very fun soundtrack crammed full of theatre legends and stellar performances. It came at a perfect time to give people a bit of relief from everything that is going on in the world and I believe could easily be adapted to a staged experience in the future, which I for one would absolutely sign up for! I would rate this soundtrack 4.5 stars out of 5! Don’t forget you can catch the full episodes of A Killer Party of their website for the low price of £8 and keep an eye on how the musical grows in the future!