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kathy and stella solve a murder art work

all about theatre five star review

True crime dramas and podcast have become hugely popular over the past several years and the true crime phenomenon shows no sign of slowing down, so it makes sense to produce a musical around this subject and Kathy & Stella Solves a Murder does this perfectly. The show started out at the Edinburgh fringe festival in 2022 and returned there this summer, this new run of the show at Home Manchester sees the show extended from a one act show to a two act show and has a more extensive set.

Kathy and Stella solve a murder production shot

The musical is Co-produced by Jon Brittain and Fabian Aloise and tells the story of Kathy (Bronté Barbé) and Stella (Rebekah Hinds) two best friends from Beverly in Hull, the pair met in primary school where they bonded over their love of true crime. Now in their twenties the pair host a true crime podcast from Kathy's mum's garage and dream of making it big in the true crime podcast world. When their favourite true crime author Felicia Taylor (Jodie Jacobs) comes to Hull to promote her book, Kathy and Stella plan to meet with her in the hopes she will add them to her new podcast series. The meeting with Felicia doesn't go well as she is not impressed with there podcast and tells the girls that they need to find a USP before she could consider them for her podcast series.

When Kathy and Stella are later call to the police station they discover that Felicia Taylor has been murdered and that they were probably two of the last people to see her alive. Kathy and Stella realise that this could be their USP as they are now part of Felica Taylors murder story. So Kathy and Stella decide to try and crack the case for their podcast in the hopes it will propel them into true crime podcast stardom.

kathy and stella solve a murder production photo

The set designed by Cecilia Carey is simple but effective and allows for the musicians to be cleverly positioned on the sides of the stage without getting in the way of the action. The set starts of depicting the garage where Kathy and stella record there podcast, this is able to be transformed into other locations by the clever use of props and push on set pieces. We are transported into a police interview room, a bar and even a mortuary complete with mortuary table and bodies. We are also transported to murder con by the use of a huge murder con sign which is dropped down onto the stage.

Kathy and Stella solve a murder production photo

The songs in the show are good and move the story along well, some of my favourite songs include "Kathy and Stella's Murder Podcast" which is hilarious and very catchy, this is one you will be sing along too long after you have seen the show. I also enjoyed "Part of The Story" which is another upbeat catchy song and "The Approval Of Strangers" a beautiful ballad sung by Rebekah Hinds as Stella and this really shows off Rebekah Hinds gorgeous voice.

This musical has just 8 cast members which also includes an off stage swing, some of the cast members play multiple roles and they do so with ease switching between characters seamlessly. Bronté Barbé who plays Kathy and Rebekah Hinds who plays Stella have been perfectly cast as the best friend duo, they have great chemistry and they make you truly believe in their friendship. They both have excellent comic timing and know how to bounce off each other making them a great comedy duo.

kathy and stella solve a murder production photos

Bronté Barbé as Kathy was excellent as she was able to get the audience to really connect and empathise with her character. Rebekah Hinds as Stella is just Hilarious her facial expressions were so funny and her voice on the song "Aproval of Stragers" was stunning. Jodie Jacobs plays a number of roles including Detective Inspector Shaw, Felicia Taylor as well as Felicia's sister and brother, she was fantastic in each role and was great at slipping between the characters and in to each ones accent, Jodie has a great presence on stage and has a power house vocally. TJ Lloyd again played several roles including Justin Norris the cheery mortuary technician, David Slatter the creepy pub landlord and murder suspect and Kathy's mum, each role is very different but TJ is able to easily morph in to each one of his characters with such ease. Imelda Warren-Green plays Stella's sister Francesca and Mortuary technician and Kathy & Stella superfan Erica, it was Imelda's portrayal of superfan Erica which had the audience in stitches with her physical comedy and hilarious facial expressions.

kathy and stella solve a murder production photos

Being a huge true crime fan I really enjoyed this musical, the story is great, it is cleverly written, witty and hilariously funny, there are lots of laugh out loud moments with great one liners and some tongue-in cheek humour. The show as well as being funny has a lot of heart with two very endearing lead characters that demonstrate the power of friendship. I think this show could definitely have a life on the West end.

Kathy & Stella Solves a Murder is running at Home in Manchester until Saturday 21st October 2023 you can purchase tickets by clicking on the button below.

If you would like more information about Kathy & Stella Solves a Murder you can find it by clicking on the button below.

Photo Credit - Ellie Kurttz


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