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Edinburgh Fringe 2012

People Show 121 The Detective Show

People Show

Genre: Comedy, Drama


Assembly George Square Venue 3


Low Down

Someone’s been murdered but there’s no body, no weapon and no motive. there is a suspect and the interrogator is talking to him. The suspect believes he is innocent but can only remember 3 things

He is a compulsive gambler, He is in love with an Agatha Christie tour guide, he thinks he may be a fictional character..Let the search for cllues begin….

People Show 121 dives into the world of all things murder mystery.


 People Show theatre company has been in existence since 1966, this is show number 121, and it starred one of the original players Mark Long. So. I’ve seen the People Show in a range of performance spaces, in fact any where you can think of that would not be suitable for theatre has been brought alive by their vision and craft. But this was the weirdest space of all, a lecture hall set in a concrete wasteland lashed by unforgivingly lively Edinburgh rain. The space was a challenge, a somewhat thrust stage with the outline of a body marked in white tape and what looked like the set for a kitchen sink drama.

The start was disarmingly easy,  a welcome to the three actors introduced to us by Gareth Brierly, a self deprecating cheeky host who had a touch of the Hugh Grants about him with none of the foolish foppery but all the world weary charm, an introduction to the ethos of the show, a discussion about the publicity and whether it would reflect everything that had been promised and even if it didn’t would it really matter, no, it wouldn’t matter.

As it turns out, nothing really mattered but the sterling performances of the three actors who led us at a breakneck pace through a piece of diverting detective based novel nonsense, there was a story, you could probably make quite a good film out of it but the story never mattered, there was a dazzling variety of characters, mainly signified by hats, including a Poirot who reminded me of Frank Sidebottom, an idiosyncratic Italian waiter whose legwork is worth the entrance fee alone, flyshit, furry tables, seagull salad and a missing Agatha Christie, Fiona Creese beavering away in the background, keeping the whole thing on an even keel and occasionally just sitting like Whistlers’ mother, waiting patiently for her next contribution. She would be played by Susan Sarandon in the movie version. There was farce, there was even mime, don’t worry, not much and it was fine. It was entertainment, light weight yes but you can’t play that lightweight schtick unless you know what you’re doing.

 It’s all there for those who like the Cluedo side of life and it’s charmingly baffling for the poor Japanese students who crept in late, practically crawling up the aisle with embarrassment and then spent the rest of the show desperately trying to understand the nuances of this deeply English excellently eccentric entertainment. Cue the sinister detective in the black bowler hat, cue The People show have been going for 45 years and neither they nor the wonderful and occasionally ferociously fizzoged  Mark Long seem to have any notion of slowing down, go and see if no other reason than you will be guaranteed entertainment and charm and you will be in the presence of a legendary fringe theatre company.

 I do hope the young critic who swept in late, scribbled a bit and then left early wrote something nice or I shall have to have words! A solid fringe whodunit? They dunnit! 


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