Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder at Edinburgh Fringe ★★★1/2
★★★1/2 Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder | Underbelly, George Square | Aug 10-13, 15-20, 22-27 | 7:30pm
Superstar performances from standout stars aren’t quite supported by the show itself understanding what makes the whodunnit genre so addictive.
This mega-musical is already a hit with audiences and rightly so – it packs the loudness if not performances of breakout Fringe hits like Six & Heathers. Kathy and Stella are true crime podcasters and co-dependent best friends who end up having to solve a murder much closer to home.
The premise is simple to the point of caricature, but does channel the best of Scooby Doo with a Hull twist, plenty of potty mouth language and a healthy dose of British dry humour.
The standout performance is delivered by the incredible Imelda Warren-Green, playing multiple characters with aplomb and killing it with knockout vocals. Her dorky, breathy, obsessed fan Erica is a comedy masterpiece, keeping the audience laughing and enraptured at the same time.
Rebeca Hinds as Stella brings northern naughtiness and charm, and Jodie Jacobs is arresting (ahem) as a policewoman, author and many other characters. The ensemble makes a powerful noise but could be brought more to the fore, while Kathy and Stella themselves maybe need a few more developed character traits – they are very cartoonish.
The songs are catchy in the moment but don’t really have the lasting powerhouse mind melt impact of Six. And for a murder mystery, there is an absence of the tropes that fans love to see – where are the suspect characters right from the start? Overall though, this is a fun 90 minutes, which needs a few tweaks to make it an irresistible West-End transfer.
I am Joint Editor at To Do List. I like free, cheap & offbeat London, especially: cabaret, art, theatre, pop-ups, eating out, quirky films, museums, day trips, social enterprise & much more.