Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder ★★★★

2022 hit comedy-musical Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder, returns to the Fringe in expanded form

Hapless besties Kathy (Bronté Barbé) and Stella (Rebekah Hinds), creators of Hull’s least successful true crime podcast, dream of taking their creation global. When the chance to meet superstar author, Felicia Taylor (Jodie Jacobs), comes up, the girls plot to seize their moment. However, a mystery killer has other ideas. This presents a different opportunity to the girls, as they vow to solve the murder and ‘become the show’. 

Image by Mihaela Bodlovic

And so the Scooby Doo-esque antics begin, as suspects are introduced, twists are revealed and the girls themselves find not only fame but their friendship tested. Feelings of failure, cancel culture, romance, dreams and being careful what you wish for are all brushed upon, as this tightly-choreographed caper romps through to its final unmasking of the culprit.

The performances from the small cast are uniformly fabulous. Boasting impeccable comic-timing and punting a glorious line in dry humour, Hinds is a joyous presence. Barbé is effortlessly winning throughout, providing Kathy’s wide-eyed guilelessness to Stella’s bawdy brashness. And deftly handling multiple roles, Jodie Jacobs, Imelda Warren-Green, and TJ Lloyd each enjoy ample scene-stealing moments. 

The whodunit ‘mystery’ is largely superfluous, merely decorative fluff to keep things zipping along. (Although the killer reveal is hilarious.)  And while the Matthew Floyd Jones-penned songs themselves are jolly enough and allow the performers to give it their all with a side order of gusto, they are sometimes rather indistinguishable. This isn’t helped by the sound mix, meaning it’s frequently more difficult than it should be to decipher Jon Brittain’s clever and witty lyrics.

These gripes can be forgiven, however, for a production that is so obviously having a ball and wants everyone else to have one too. A good bet to become a Great Night Out staple, Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder is a big-hearted, daft, exuberant delight.  

A killer night out – ★★★★ 4 stars

Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder

Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder runs at Underbelly - then will tour to Bristol Old Vic and Home, Manchester

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