The Swinging Sixties were the heyday of freethinking theatre troupe People Show, which burst onto the scene with innovative, multi-disciplinary comic performance devised through democratic collaboration. Half a century later, the company’s offering is rather less radical, almost slightly anachronistic, but there’s still something wonderfully charming about this zany, energetic music hall entertainment.
The Detective Show creators Gareth Brierley, Mark Long, Fiona Creese and Sadie Cook (with only the latter not also doubling as a performer) wisely include several different strands of comedy in their loose collection of sketches, so if farce, mime and dodgy disguises aren’t to your taste, there’s also meta humour, surrealism and frequent breaking of the fourth wall for post-modern asides.
While not all of the gags land, the hit rate in a breathless 70-minute show ensures there’s more than enough to satisfy, and the talented trio just about maintain a deliberately obtuse murder mystery plot while tearing through costume changes and flinging themselves into slapstick set-ups. Director Jessica Worrall keeps the chaos in check while allowing for an enjoyably anarchic atmosphere.