REVIEW: Murder on the Disorient Express

The Disorient Express is a ride Peter Curry would definitely take again.

ADC Cambridge Corpus Playroom murder on the disorient express Theatre

Cheap puns, brilliant one-liners, and songs so revolutionary they’d put the Marseillaise to shame all combined to create a strong balanced performance, which delivered over and over.

After a slightly disjointed opening – with a great song from Ruari Price drowning out the voices of some of the other cast members’ comments – the show really kicked off with some excellent marriage counselling from Enrico Hallworth. Not only was this hilariously funny, as it was done in exactly the way you’d imagine your grandma if she were a therapist, but it also fitted perfectly with the show’s theme, as the ‘dead man’ backstage wasn’t available for the sketch, so the performers resorted to the only natural alternative: the audience.

Enrico proceeded to improvise brilliantly, to the bemusement of one confused member of the audience on the stage, and to the hilarity of the rest of us off it. However, as would happen a couple of times throughout the night, the end of the gag seemed a tad lazy. The lack of a punchline – as supposedly the person delivering it ‘coincidentally’ happened to be the deceased man (called Derek) – really hurt the sketch. You felt that they could have come up with something cheesy at the very least to fill the gap. 

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The team – a surprisingly oriented bunch.

That said, there were a lot of quality sketches, and great takes on everything from a pastiche of the tough lives of country singers, sung admirably by Ruari Price again, to Teenage Mutant Ninja Tortoises, to men’s rights. Rufus McAlister tackled this sensitive issue both tactfully and respectfully, by throwing tampons at the audience with the help of other members of the cast. (I mean, we were honoured. They’re a luxury, right?) The material was varied, relatable and, most importantly of all, funny.

One major weakness of the performance was Isa Bonachera’s delivery. While her material and acting was strong, she was difficult to understand, and some of the humour was lost in the struggle to do so. When she was intelligible, she was funny, but comprehension difficulties were too frequent to overlook, and it was clear other members of the audience shared the same frustrations.

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This isn’t your friendly neighbourhood Thomas the Tank Engine.

Audience participation was done masterfully, with the final, slightly mysterious member of the cast, Jasmin Rees, put through some thorough interrogation along with other suspects, and Calum Maney was also humorous as a policeman later in the show. It was a well-orchestrated, well-executed sketch show, with great sound effects and cheerful piano from Toby Marlow which was enjoyable all the way through.

If you’ve ever wanted to know what Leonardo Di Caprio and Daniel Day-Lewis would be like in the Nativity, (and if you ask me, if he doesn’t get an Oscar for the Revenant, he deserves one for that performance); or what an interrogation featuring both a good, bad, and on-the-fence cop would be like, Murder on the Disorient Express is definitely worth a watch.

4/5 stars