REVIEW: The Sound of Murder, Ovation, Mayflower, Southampton

The hills are alive – actually, they’re deathly quiet and it was up to sleuthing diners to solve a problem like a murder in a five star criminal cabaret at the Ovation Restaurant in Southampton.

Lancaster-based After Dark Murder Mystery Events added spicy entertainment to a superb three-course meal at the restaurant, guaranteed to stimulate the little grey cells as well as the taste buds.

The Sound of Murder is one of many top class themed dinner events run by the company, which is just starting to try out southern venues for its critically acclaimed productions – and we can only hope they’ll visit more often, as attending just one is likely to make the experience one of your favourite things.

The Baroness has been found dead in the bed of edelweiss, but who could have committed this dastardly deed? Was it the stiff and starchy Von Trapp, the lovestruck Mother Abbess, sweet Liesl, dutiful Rolf, or the pure, no-nonsense Maria? A suave and dashing inspector helped the gathered dinner detectives through the story as the plot unfolded between courses until clues and solutions had to be handed in and a winning team declared victorious.

A cast of the finest quality made the most of the all-singing and dancing production which was deviously clever and wickedly funny, providing a satisfying evening for Sound of Music aficionados as well as eager whodunit fans. It is probably fair to say you will never view the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical in the same light after being treated to some novel and hilarious interpretations of the songs Sixteen Going on Seventeen, Edelweiss and The Lonely Goatherd!

The great thing about the unmissable evening was its utter professionalism from start to finish – not just quality acting from the cast but a very good mystery to solve and fun interaction between the actors and diners, as we all had the chance to quiz the suspects ruthlessly during the meal.

It is little wonder that this first-rate company is the only one in the UK officially licensed by Agatha Christie Ltd to perform a brand new interactive Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre show, The Shepherd’s Warning, featuring those partners in crime Tommy and Tuppence – do try to catch it at a Hand Picked Country House Hotel sometime.

The great thing is that if you enjoy your After Dark experience, there are plenty more mystery dinner themes ranging from Upstairs Downton to Are You Being Severed? and Four Funerals and a Wedding (which played at the Ovation the previous week and was also well-received).

For more details visit the After Dark website (http://afterdarkmurder.co.uk/) or Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/After-Dark-Murder-Mystery). You can be assured of a murderously magnificent and memorable evening!

David Guest