An unsettling vortex of darkness swallows the theatre. We have been summoned for a dinner party, and murder is on the menu tonight. Lightning flashes. An organ detonates any sign of joy. Political eyes are following our every move, and it’s clear that no one can be trusted. A tall, dark figure enters the room and demands our attention. It’s The Count—he has come to die.
Presented by Calamity Productions, The House With No Name artistically fuses musical theatre with meticulous murder mystery, wisecrack comedy, and refreshing pop culture satire. A winding hunt for the murderer-to-be ensues after Sister April, a psychic nun, predicts the death of The Count—the infamous offspring of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. Arguably ill-fated instantly as a child merely because of his parentage, The Count summons five of his closest frenemies to dinner in a quest to expose his assassin.
This vintage-style musical features a high-energy cast and rollicking, sensual choreography. Written and directed by Joshua Snares and produced by Jared Gerschwitz, the show comprises of an eight-person cast and enough mystery, scandal, and humour to keep you spellbound for the entire 60 minutes.
The audience is transported back in time to the classical era of black and white film through a noir aesthetic. Each character is blanketed in bluey-grey body paint and adorned in mid 1900’s attire designed by Eleni Galanos. Though there is a classical vibe to the stage and character layouts, refreshing references to Facebook, Sara Lee Cheesecakes, and the real Slim Shady provide a modern spin on an otherwise old-fashioned murder mystery. Though the noir archetypes of moral ambiguity and fatalism heavily drive the plot, the performance is light on the suspense and heavy on the comical puns. The perplexing reality that characters may not be who they assure they are cause questions to run riot throughout The Count and the audience’s minds alike. Lies, over-analysing, and unexpected plot twists trigger questions that only time will answer—and time is running out for The Count.
An array of musical segments are favourably welcomed and are all composed by the endowed Jemma Boyd. Vocal solos provide shape and personality to each character, while group harmonies enliven the show’s deadly doings. With each song, Boyd presents a deceptively innocent musical foundation with a comical and captivating repertoire of rhymes.
Mystery and deception are heightened throughout the entirety of the show, keeping the audience quiet literally in the dark. Thus, The House With No Name is bound to have you screaming for more (that’s if you make it out alive).
Header via Calamity Productions.