A while ago I reviewed sharp teeth theatres online murder mystery production “Sherlock in homes” (can you see what they do there?) and it was incredible. When they announced a follow-up to this initial show I was so excited to experience what the creative team had developed. I believe that they must have sat down as a team and thought “where do we go from here? How can we make a successful follow-up?” The answer is put it on ice! Now we are not talking about a “Disney on ice” style where all the performers are on skates in ridiculous costumes … Sharp teeth wanted to set a murder mystery in the ominous Antarctic. In an English lesson recently, I discussed with students about the perfect place to set a murder mystery story and we had a lengthy discussion about snow being used to cover up things and adding to the sense of mystery, so it was a funny coincidence that this show was also set in one of the snowiest places I know!
The first thing you will notice about the sharp teeth theatre murder mystery (from the three I have seen) is that they make sure that they are transporting you into the crafter world and try their best to maintain the highest production value possible. Before you even start the call, anyone who is booked a ticket will receive an extensive email that is full of the suspects, story, a map and context which has all been tailored to look as authentic as possible while also being very helpful for the viewers. Each performer wears fantastic costumes that fit with their character and have crafted backdrops and props that make sense to the story as well as fitting with their characters. As this production is done through zoom, the performers are simply in their homes performing to a computer so to have themed decorations etc help the audience to feel like they are experiencing an investigation. While we are talking about zoom, this online element was made a key part of the show rather than seeming like something they are being forced to do. Each character had their character names on their screens (which the audience could see), viewers were ushered into breakout rooms automatically and voting was done through a zoom poll which shows that the team behind this show had carefully thought about how to use zoom to its full potential to make sense within the production, it also meant that the audience could still feel fully immersed despite being possibly thousands of miles apart.
As you might have guessed the purpose of this show is to discover who murdered captain Albert Ross. To do this the viewers were put into breakout rooms to interview the suspects to find out information, due to this the performers have to improvise their responses (while ensuring they are appropriate and relevant to the story) which shows an incredibly high level of skill/talent. The show made sure to emphasise that interrogation was the purpose of the smaller groups, as the audience was playing the role of invited detectives, which helped limit the number of awkward silences during the interview times. The call starts with everyone in one big group with an introduction led by Guest Captain LaSharto who recalled what has happened and introduced the characters (in case people hadn’t read the case files that had been emailed) and through the show, the captain would reveal new information and conduct the polls. Having someone who makes sure the show stays on track overall is very important as it is completely improvised and the audience can ask any questions they like. Compared to the last two productions I have seen, this show contained a greater sense of comedy throughout. Firstly the character names Getjor bearings, Bella de balle and Penn Gwyne are very clever and hilarious. Penn was the token welsh character and it was great to see some welsh character being portrayed in this type of show as you don’t normally get to see this. This character and Scout had me laughing constantly during their sections as they were so incredibly quick-witted and funny. For me though, my favourite line was said by Doug when he was talking about Captain ‘Ross’ was shouting “we were on a break” which Is a reference to friends and I found it very funny.
This was a very fun and interactive murder mystery that would be fantastic for a group of friends to do (even if they live apart) with the production value being maintained at the high standard I have come to expect from Sharp Teeth. This is a show appropriate for the whole family but I believe that some young children may miss the purpose or narrative of the show but it is appropriate for all ages. Sherlock In homes 1 was incredible and this production was a close second. I would rate it 4 stars out of 5!