Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder!
Rating: ★★★★★
Venue: Ambassador's Theatre, London
Cast: Bronté Barbé, Rebekah Hinds, Imelda Warren-Green, Elliot Broadfoot, Hannah-Jane Fox, Elliotte Williams-N'Dure, Ben Redfern, Jennifer Caldwell, Chelsea Hall and Sorelle Marsh 

BFFs Kathy and Stella host Hull’s least successful true crime podcast. When their favourite author is killed they are thrust into a thrilling whodunnit of their own!

Hailed as ‘comedy gold’, this big-hearted, laugh out loud musical follows the unlikely crime-fighting duo as they put their friendship on the line to become part of the story. Can they crack the case, (and become global podcast superstars) before the killer strikes again…?

After launching at Edinburgh Fringe and a successful UK tour, this comedic true-crime musical is now gracing the West End with its murderous charm. It’s a true-crime lover's dream. The show is produced by Francesca Moody Productions, under the direction of Jon Brittain and Fabian Aloise, with music and lyrics by Matthew Floyd Jones. Though being set in a modern era, this show gives off an 80’s vibe with Floyd Jones’ superb musical score.

The vibe when walking into the auditorium is upbeat and enthusiastic. The playlist that's playing through the speakers as the audience walk in truly gets you hyped-up for the show. The stage design really feels as though you've walked into a detective's investigation room, but you quickly learn it’s Kathy’s garage. Cecilia Carey’s set was clever to say the least. Although the stage seems high when you first walk in, it's not as daunting as it first seems; no neck straining at all, despite being at the front. The actors play to the front of the stage which works really well. Peter Small’s lighting design was incredible, and had a lot of red and blue hues which is what you’d expect from a true-crime show. This really helped to set both the tone and mood.

This cast is a dream. The talent on that stage was a force to be reckoned with! The harmonies between the leading ladies, Bronté Barbé and Rebekah Hinds, were just jaw-dropping. They gelled incredibly well; not just vocally, but through their chemistry and comedic timing. Rebekah Hinds' take on Stella has you roaring with laughter; a true natural at her craft. One of the things that stood out for me was the fact that some of the cast play multiple characters. It just goes to show how much talent oozes from the stage. Hannah Jane Fox as Felicia was so over the top, it just worked perfectly - another powerhouse vocalist that had you hooked. Imelda Warren-Green’s Erica was both corky and a delight. She almost stole act two as she works the stage so effortlessly, you couldn’t keep your eyes off her when she was in a scene. I also have to highlight the brilliant costume designer, Cecilia Carey, a magician with a fantastic eye for fashion.

I thoroughly love how the story did not just stick to the present, but took us on a journey through the years showing audiences how Kathy and Stella came to be. A duo that is almost never seen without the other. With this being the course of the structure, it had impeccable pacing. Getting to know about the early days of the true-crime loving best friends, you come to realise that even when things go south with your bestie, you work it out, and ultimately understand you can’t live without them! This entire company holds your attention as you try to figure out whodunnit.

A fun night out for everyone. A wonderful mix of comedy, true-crime, and wisdom of friendships. So, grab the Kathy to your Stella (or Stella to your Kathy) and go see this show. But for now…….see you next murder!

You can book tickets to see Kathy and Stella at the Ambassador's Theatre, here.

Review by Dani

**photo credit: Pamela Raith**

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