Come Die With Me @ Just the Tonic at Grassmarket

Come Die With Me is a murder mystery musical that takes a decent stab at combining genres

Review by Stephanie Stevenson | 29 Aug 2023
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Happy Sad Productions' parody murder mystery musical Come Die With Me ticks a lot of boxes and will appeal to a variety of audience members. Whether you’re a fan of musical theatre, reality TV competitions, murder mysteries, or all three, you are sure to enjoy this show.

Written by Hannah McGregor and devised with the support of the cast, the show follows the formula of TV series Come Dine With Me, in which a mixed bag of characters try to win a cash prize by taking turns hosting a dinner party. We begin with a rundown of how the week has gone so far and gain a bit of insight into who the guests are.

Chris (Roza Stevenson) reluctantly enters the competition with super-fan girlfriend Jane (Heather Richardson), acting as the over-excited couple; silent and nervous Paddy (Sandy Bishop) flies under the radar as the youngest of the group. Party girl Cordelia (Missy Hingley) acts as the spoiled, rich student while aspiring artist Sandy (Orla Bayne) is the poor yet hopeful underdog. Collectively, they all despise their fellow contestant, the pompous and rich Frederick Reginald Cooper III (Andrew Lodge) who criticises everyone, and whose over-the-top performance is the most enjoyable of the show.

Narrator Dillon Mutton (Oliver Payn) provides snarky commentary and even gets in on the singing and detective action when a guest is suspiciously murdered. The opening number sets up a colourful-sounding performance, with a great range of talented voices and inventive lighting, such as shining torches on actors’ faces to represent reality TV confessional pieces. The show would have benefited from some microphones, as the stripped-back set made it difficult to immerse yourself in the story. This may have been easy to look over if the story didn’t get lost within itself by the middle, which made conversations seem repetitive until a surprise guest comes knocking.

The music is admirable and the cast do a great job working with each other to make the most of the performance; you can certainly tell they are having fun. By the end, the audience have the choice to accuse the murderer, which is a nice touch. The characters are stereotypical and none seem to have any deep character growth, but this isn’t really supposed to be a deep show. With a bit more time in the oven, this could definitely become a worthwhile comedy. As it stands, it provides an entertaining mix of genres, but could definitely go a lot further.

Come Die With Me: The Murder Mystery Musical Parody, Just the Tonic at the Grassmarket Centre (The Old Foundry Room), run ended