The performance “Murder at the Manor” was an eccentric and comic piece of theatre. It was very interesting and fun to watch. There is a lot to say about the set, costume, sound, lighting, characters, and units of action, dialogue, pacing, director and special effects. The set was a house, a living room with a sofa, a plant, and a picture and barely furnished. Everything happened in that room, there was no change of set. It was a simple set that created a natural atmosphere. The objects added to the atmosphere but didn’t distract the audience. The actors were not always on set, some spoke offstage and you could hear people walking on stairs. When they were on stage it was in that room.
The clothes and costumes were adapted to the character and brought out their personality. They all mixed together in a party which looked more like a fancy dress as the costumes were a little bit over the top. Because the costumes contrasted with each other they gave a very comic appearance. The costumes didn’t have a very memorable sense of color but were enough to give an impression of the characters.
There was no background music but there were some sound effects that were used effectively. The sound effects were used in the right way to lighten up the atmosphere. They were supposed to be comic and succeeded in their intended purpose. One example of this was a catchphrase, which was used around 10-12 times. Every time the main actor who was playing the role of a Greek man (Georgios Smoothiakous) said: “I am a big, strong and hairy Greek man” there would be a sound effect followed by an action. We came to believe that every time he said that sentence we were to expect the sound effect. It worked very well in that context as the play was very stereotypical.
The lighting was not very interesting and was the same throughout the whole show. It was a white-yellow light, which was not very bright but not too dim either. The lighting didn’t really make an impact on what we were seeing or any unexpected surprises. It didn’t give away any information and wasn’t very noticeable. Maybe if the lighting used were more varied it would have given a bigger surprise factor.
There were five actors that played the main roles. The actor that played Georgios Smoothiakous (the host of the party) exaggerated his movements and accents to make it more comic. The actors took their roles and used what they knew of these types of people to make them so embellished that they weren’t even believable anymore. For example an innocent blonde girl took her being blonde and rich to a new level. All the characters were so different that all of them exaggerated mixed into a huge humorous play.
The most memorable moments were definitely the ones that were the most funny ones and of course the improvisation. The improvisation was when some members from the audience were asked to go on stage and behave in a certain way. The expressions on their faces as they struggled to improvise correctly were just terribly funny. The actors that exaggerated their roles did so in a manner that was really unforgettable. Of course, the first murder was not a shock as everyone had already said they wanted to kill Georgios but all the same it was very well thought out.
The dialogue was informal and very natural. In this production there were lots jokes and puns. This made the dialogue seem very conversationalist. The way that they spoke to each other was very unique and individual in their own way. Sometimes in the middle of a conversation or monologue, the actor would pause and speak to the audience. I think that this worked very well in this type of context. In any other play the interruptions of the flow would be disturbance and annoyance to the audience. In this case it just helped the flow as the dialogue was very easy to understand and the speaking to the audience involved the people more and got them more interested.
I don’t think that there was a large contrast between the pace and timing of the show. At times it was more noticeable than others but at o point there was a very large difference in the pace and timing of the performance. The play developed at a steady speed and worked it’s way through the start, complication, solve and then the end. Because of all the comedy, it didn’t really need a contrast in the pace to make the play more interesting.
There was one actor that played a double role. He played two men, he played the main character Georgios Smoothiakous and when he dies he plays the Inspector Clueless. There could have been a lot of trouble getting the two personalities mixed but the play went well without any disturbances. There was another actor who played the role of Apfel Von Strudel. His character in the play was masqueraded as a woman as well and I guess you could count that as a double role.
When he played the woman as well it worked quite well and he was a good actor so he made it seem not too realistic but not completely unbelievable either. In conclusion the play was very well done and comic. In the areas that I described it did very well and I really enjoyed it. It was funny enough to laugh and everyone had a good time but with an element of learning as well.