Review: The Killer Question at The John Cooper Studio

Just Some Theatre  is now on tour and performed their new production, The Killer Question, in The John Cooper Studio at Theatre@41 last night.

By Angie Millard

If you like new writing and want a different starting point then this is the play for you.

The actors give a brief introduction and an outline of the characters to be played before the show begins and the audience vote for who plays which role. Immediately you are involved and in some way invested in the outcome.

The piece owes something to the style of League of Gentlemen and the set characters are  older than the actors which obviously adds humour but the acting needs a touch more style and panache. 

On the night I saw it, Peter Stone played Walter Crump: an expert on the subject of murder. His realisation of the role was creepily accurate and thus. He aspires to be a contestant on The Chair, a popular quiz show.

There has been a murder and Inspector Black, played by Jake Urry, must discover if Walter’s obsession led to his own murder.

This leaves Jordan Moore to play Margaret who is Walter’s widow. She is compelling as a character and was probably the most complex. Moore was enigmatic and intriguing but the unrolling of the narrative in the first half needed to be sharper in order to maintain our interest.

The play improved in the second half, as the plot gathered momentum and the finale was just the twist which we needed. This was the fourth performance on tour and has a great deal of energy and promise. I mean, who doesn’t love a murder mystery?

The wardrobe department however should address the problems caused when three very differently sized men share the skirt/cardigan combo worn by Margaret. Moore definitely lost out on that one.

Theatre @ 41 has an ambitious programme this season and the keynote is variety.

The John Cooper studio is the most versatile performance space in York and the building houses a rehearsal room and a dance studio which are also for hire. I enjoy going there and seeing what configuration will be used for each show. This is a fantastic resource and York should be proud of it.

The Killer Question was performed at The John Cooper Studio, Theatre@41 Monkgate on Saturday 26 September 2021. It was written by Dave Payne. The director was Alyx Tole, Costumes were by Irene Jade and Lighting by Tom Sutcliffe.