Kathy & Stella Solve A Murder at The Ambassadors Theatre

The West End seems to be buzzing with British Musicals at the moment and with Kathy & Stella Solve A Murder opening at the Ambassadors Theatre there is a new joyful addition to the list.

My journey to see Kathy & Stella was an eventful one as in the interval of press night there was a flood so the show couldn’t continue. I however was desperate to return to see them complete their mission to solve the murder (and find out for myself whodunnit) so a few weeks later I managed to get myself back to the Ambassadors. I was also thrilled to find out that for my return visit I had 3 understudies on (not that I didn’t love the original cast but this was I got to see even more people in this show).

Kathy & Stella Solve A Murder is about 2 best friends who run a true crime podcast who end up at the centre of a fresh new murder to solve, helped along the way by their fans Justin and Erica we follow their rise to fame but more importantly their friendships ups and downs along the way.

The book by Jon Brittain is brilliant at making the audience feel that they are getting a sneak peek into the life of these 2 best friends whilst at the same time building up the mystery and intrigue as to who the murder is. I adore the fact that it is set in Britain in somewhere other than London and the thick Hull accents combined with the often dry wit really helps it feel British in the best of ways. The pace was frantic but it helped build up the flurry of excitement in moving towards the big reveal. The music by Matthew Flloyd Jones (lyrics by both Flloyd Jones and Brittain) is catchy and really cements the friendship without being overly sentimental. Many of the songs feel relevant and as someone who spends a huge amount of time on social media ‘The Approval of Strangers’ in particular had me in stitches.

The casting for this show is spot on , with a cast of 7 I constantly changed my mind about my favourite character. Bronte Barbe took on the role of Kathy Baxter, a character riddled with anxiety and uncertainty about her own abilities but also the ethical compass of the piece and she is wonderful in the role. I saw both Rebekah Hinds on press night for Act 1 and Chelsea Hall for my return visit play Stella, the more confident, bolshy but impulsive one of the pair and I was overjoyed to have seen both of these talented women take on the role. With both Hinds and Hall they embodied the confidence needed for Stella, rocked only by the news that her best friend might be leaving her. All of their chemistry on stage was utterly believable and I was convinced I was watching life long friends.

The rest of the cast provided a huge amount of humour in the supporting roles, Ben Redfern played local wrongun David Slatter and his physicality was incredibly watchable. Equally Imelda Warren-Green and Elliot Broadfoot as super fans Erica Knott and Justin Norris threatened to steal the show at several points with their impeccable comedy timing.

The set designed by Celica Carey was wonderful in its functionality. At the start of the show it simply looked as if we were in Kathy’s garage but as the action unfolded two pull out platforms which looked from one side to be crammed full of garage junk became morgue tables and bars, steps cleverly designed as crisp boxes or filing cabinets.

Kathy & Stella Solve A Murder is a musical that strikes the wonderful balance of being a brilliant night of escapism comedy whilst feeling utterly relatable with this bonkers but brilliant marriage of musical theatre and true crime murder.

Kathy & Stella Solve A Murder is currently booking until 14th September. To find out more about Kathy & Stella Solve A Murder you can visit their website.

If you like this review you might also like my review of Two Strangers Carry A Cake Across New York, Six and MJ The Musical.

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