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Brighton Fringe 2011

Four Play

Andrew Allen

Genre: Comedy, Drama


New Venture Theatre, Bedford Place. Brighton


Low Down

"Four actors, seventeen characters, several murders, over 120 exits and entrances, just as many costume changes, and any number of endings. Well, four: and you get to decide which one on the night. A frenetic, breathless, and fast-paced mix of Agatha Christie and far too much coffee becomes brand new murder mystery from local writer Andrew Allen." Andrew Allen is a local stand-up comedian, actor, writer and director; and part of Accidentally/On Purpose comedy troupe. He appeared as Yvan in ‘Art’ in 2009, and directed ‘Brief Encounter’ at the New Venture Theatre in 2010, winning Best Play there that year.


This was a highly energetic, fast-paced, fun, frolickingly well-executed comedy murder-mystery, with post-modern style references to 1920s Agatha Christie plotlines and stereotypical characters, with the added gimmick of allowing the audience to condemn the murderer. No boring samey run for these four up-for-it actors, as even they do not know which one of them is the murderer until midway through Act Two. Reminds me of the whodunit multiplotline possibilities in ‘Eastenders’ of late (nota bene, this is not my confession of watching television soap operas here, let’s be quite clear)… For this alternative-ending idea to work, the structuring of the play has to be tightly crafted and this was successfully achieved, and the actors are well-prepared.

A triumph of multi-roling, postmodern pastiches of stereotyped characterisations ideal for the postmodern audience, and more comings and goings than The Complete Works of Willy Shakespeare in 60 minutes, and almost as hilarious. What a refreshing evening. Bravely done. A welcome bit of frivolity in this year’s Brighton Fringe.