I don’t think I’ve ever been more confused than when I sat in the theatre for The Case Of The Frightened Lady. The curtain came up and the show began with no music or warning.
I guess when you’ve spent the vast majority of your life watching and participating in musical theatre, the silence of a large theatre is a very strange thing…
This week my theatre trip consisted of seeing a play (shock, horror!) No singing, no dancing; just good old fashioned acting.
While some people may have a bit of a stigma about watching a play, nevertheless an Agatha Christie one, there is really nothing boring about this show. Everyone loves a good murder mystery. I, myself, am totally obsessed with murder podcasts and the only books I ever read are thrillers.
Everyone loves a good murder mystery!
It may seem weird to enjoy murder stories, but I think the reason that so many people are enthralled by them is because the subject can be so close to home. Murderers can be anyone, for one reason or another; whether it is caused by the demon lurking inside or an unfortunate circumstance.
People are intrigued by what causes someone to do something so evil and barbaric when we can’t contemplate it ourselves.
I also love listening to murder stories because I feel like now I may actually know how to identify someone with characteristics that are psychopathic. Hence, I may be able to actually stay sexy and not get murdered. (If you don’t listen to the My Favorite Murder podcast then that phrase will mean nothing to you. But I URGE you to listen to it – it is awesome!)
So, back to the play I saw this week… I basically got to spend two hours trying to work out who the killer was in a story unravelling right in front of my eyes.
My friend Harry and I saw The Case Of The Frightened Lady at Leeds Grand Theatre. We left work on Tuesday, got the drinks in at the bar, and set to work trying to piece together the clues. (That is in between being distracted by SO MANY PEOPLE’s phones going off!)
Without giving too much away, the play begins in a large manor house in England. The lady of the house inhabits it with her son, who has returned from war in India. They have a number of servants and regular house guests that are somehow embroiled in various shady situations.
After all, in a rich person’s mansion, there’s plenty of scandal going on.
During a costume party, the family chauffeur is found dead in the dining room; strangled with a red scarf. So two detectives are sent in to investigate the mysterious death.
While the characters are very much from a ‘stiff upper lip’ background and everyone speaks very formal, the shenanigans of the household are anything but classy. Instead of being a dreary, classic murder mystery, the play had intrigue, plenty of suspicions and a good dash of humour.
I spent Act One going back and forth between several characters, trying to come up with alibis and motives for the murder. But it was in Act Two that the pieces finally came together for me.
All it took was one sentence and piece of information for my brain to ‘click’. And then it was as if ‘how did I not know this for certain all along?’
The play wrapped up nicely with a good dramatic scene at the end where everything is spelt out for you. Although you will wonder just exactly how this story is going to get wrapped up without more casualties.
The Case Of The Frightened Lady was a really fun theatre visit. Each Act was less than an hour each, so the pace was quick and it never felt like it was dragging. You also get very drawn into the action and it is so much fun trying to figure it out as your theories change throughout the play.
There is no swearing or ‘funny business’ in this play (and surprisingly not very much gore), so it is a family-friendly show. However, I can’t imagine it is much fun for young children as you have to pay attention to all the dialogue to really understand what is happening.
There were two kids sat in front of us who seemed to drift in and out of concentration and I can’t imagine it was the most fun thing for them.
I would definitely recommend taking a friend or family member to the play though. It lends you a fun debate in between dinner and drinks.
The Case Of The Frightened Lady is currently on tour around the U.K, so follow this link to find out when the play will be near you next.