Review of ‘Full Steam Ahead’ by Marissa Ker

Inside Outside Theatre Company presents Full Steam Ahead, a fresh take on the murder mystery theatre restaurant genre.  Tramp up the stairs to the Green Room at the Imperial Hotel at Eumundi and settle down for a train ride in France.

In the best Agatha Christie tradition, writer Angela Witcher has crafted a tale which is tricky to solve.  Director Antonio Peluso has orchestrated a superb performance by the ensemble of seven actors.   Ethyn Tom plays Inspector Alphonse with elfin verve and a mysterious accent.  Cameron Egginton plays Charles Fairweather, who is apparently good at both playing cards and kissing.  Sam Liddell plays Sebastian Chumley-Smythe, with suitably toff-style accent and mannerisms.  Angela Jan plays his sister Cordelia.  Is she as sweet and gushing as she appears in that gorgeous white and aqua 1930’s style frock?  Their aunt, the Duchess of Cranmere, is portrayed with great aplomb by Susan Harding-Smith.  There was what appeared to be a moment of exaggerated acting by Susie Bushnell as Daphne Flowers, but this was actually a clue being dropped.  Michael Thomas plays The Major, who has taken up flirting in his retirement.

The space suits the play perfectly and is used to good effect.  Dinner is served (delicious!) and Inspector Alphonse delivers a bundle of clues to each table.  Then the audience is invited to quiz the characters.  This is when the quality of this production shines through, because the actors improvise in character.  These characters may tell

Some cast members of Full Steam Ahead

lies, but they do so in a way that gives more red herrings and clues.  Each table team is invited to make an accusation and enumerate motives in writing.  Prizes are awarded for things such as best team name.

Overall, this professional-quality production makes for a very enjoyable night out.  It is rated PG and would be suitable for families.  On opening night, the audience warmed to the show despite the chilly temperature and dressed up as instructed (1930’s style or as a favourite detective).  The photograph in the program does not depict the actors.  Ticket without dinner is $25.  Parking is easy nearby.  A teardrop banner wouldn’t go astray.

Review by Marissa Ker of performance on Friday 11 May at 7:30pm