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The Murderettes
The Phoenix Artist Club
18th August 2013


Peter Edwards, Eve Truszkowska and Matt Jones

Photography supplied by The Murderettes

It's always with a sense of trepidation that we see a comedy show featuring a comedian we've previously written up negatively. Particularly when the theme of the show is murder. However Peter Edwards, together with fellow Murderettes Eve Truszkowska and Matt Jones, delivers an entertaining 55 minutes of improv and in the process no reviewers are harmed with any candlesticks in the conservatory.

With a few suggestions from the audience, this bravely up-for-anything trio launch into a tale of murder, with our hero of the piece, Pete (played by Edwards), valiantly trying to prove whodunnit. He is the one constant character, Truszkowska and Jones taking on a multitude of different roles, and in Jones' case, parts of both genders. There's a brief whiff of The 39 Steps about the effort the three put into this show, but it's certainly no rip-off.

Edwards is much stronger in this improvised situation than he is doing straight stand up. In the same way that a magician never really saws the glamorous assistant in half, no improv is ever totally unscripted, and it's in the moments where Edwards is completely acting on the hoof that he gets the biggest laughs. Jones forgets a few names and Truszkowska gets a few sexes mixed up, but Edwards is always on the ball, keeping the narrative on track and taking care to repeat whichever jokes which are well-received by the audience. He gauges their reaction, and decides what his next move should be accordingly. He's also very good fun, playing up to audience demand and - let's face it - allowing himself to get stitched up by Truszkowska.

The remaining pair arguably have a more difficult task in taking on so many different parts. Jones attempts to separate these out with different accents and, towards the end, these do start to merge. But his enthusiastic demeanour, contrasted with Truszkowska's measured approach and Edwards' slow deadpan delivery makes for an enjoyable hour.

Granted, the premise for the mystery may have some gaping plot points in it but rather thanpussyfoot around these, the three comedians deliberately draw attention to them, getting some more chuckles that way. This piece may not be perfect, but it's nonetheless satisfying. Despite the predictability of the ending, we still want to be taken there.

There is a slightly ramshackle feel to The Murderettes - whilst the technician in Edwards' last show missed his cues repeatedly, the one here just decided not to show up, leaving the comedians entirely on their own. But it actually felt endearing, with the experience a bit of daft silliness. From Pete acting out his audience-nominated profession to George (Jones) trying to prove the murderer's identity or Freddie (Truszkowska) trekking across the London counties, there's a great self-awareness at play.

With The Murderettes being improvised, whodunnit and why-they-dun-it may not necessarily be the same each time, but in any case, there's no point in spoiling the punchline. The fun comes from watching the journey unfold.

The Murderettes opened on 18th August and runs until 20th August 2013, as part of the Camden Fringe.

Nearest tube station: Tottenham Court Road (Northern, Central)

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