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Published November 16, 2018

A most unique case is before you, as you take your place amongst your fellow members of the jury. The body of a Pirate has been discovered in a Hepburn Springs Sauna. There are four suspects; the in-house accountant for the accounting firm Johnson and Johnson, a headmaster with a rather draconian sense of discipline, a grizzled private detective (and sometimes stripper), and the poor victim’s “boat neighbour” (who seems to have a rather odd taste in dates). All have a history, all have alibies, and all have had run-ins with the law. It is up to you to decide the facts from the fiction, to divine who is innocent and who is guilty, in this, the murder of Jolly Rancher.

Or…that’s how it could have happened. Here’s how it also might of.

Felt Like Murder! is the latest production from Melbourne’s own master puppet improv group The Mighty Littles, a one hour whodunit with a special guest victim and suspects that change every night (as it’s improvisational nature would suggest). Prosecutor Rob Llyod navigates the jury in an almost mad-libs style through the creation of the victim (occupation, location, murder weapon) and suspects, as well as prompts for the “evidence” they present. Naturally, there is a lot of audience involvement (indeed, the creation of Sir Teacher was primarily the result of one very insistent audience member). The custom built puppets are ideal for the task, and the variety of eyes, noses, hats and other props guarantees uniqueness, and presents those “pulling the strings” with incredible opportunities for character development.

The guilty party is decided upon via a process of elimination, with each stage allowing further details to emerge; the suspect’s first encounter with the victim, then their alibi, and finally a crime that they have committed. Again, a huge opportunity for variety, and be prepared for it to get dark; as the performers themselves commented on several occasions, thank god they weren’t doing the show for kids!

As with any improvised performance, it is a mixed bag in terms of the quality of material, but the good vastly outweighed the bad, and as Prosecutor Rob Llyod quickly won over the audience. I do often wonder how difficult it must be to perform to an audience that is actively encouraged to shout out and comment, but he handled it with a deft hand and a mischievous grin. Adam McKenzie made an exceptional victim / pirate / occasionally, for some reason, a cowboy. With this level of uniqueness at every show, Felt Like Murder! is ideal for a dark laugh and especially if you’ve ever, well, felt like murder.

 

Felt Like Murder! is on at the Butterfly Club until 17 November 2018. Tickets, show times and accessibility information can be found via the Butterfly Club website or the box office.

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