Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder

The stage is set to represent the inside of a garage where our two leads record their murder podcast. Cecilia Carey, the Set and Costume designer, has done a wonderful job of filling the sides of the stage with various items you would expect to see in a garage, including a barbeque which is highlighted later in the show. At points, the upstage garage door even opens to create a new entrance.

From the costume design, we can tell our two leads, Bronté Barbé as Kathy Baxter and Rebekah Hinds as Stella Carmichael, are a mismatched pair of outcasts, and this becomes clearer throughout the show. While they may be misfits, they’re killing it together on stage, with that awkward lifelong slightly outgrown friendship.

Near the top of the show, there is an amazing dance routine choreographed by Fabian Aloise, involving lots of work spinning and sliding on office chairs. I love it when choreographers add a little more creativity than you might expect. Before you feel inspired to try this out at work, I will add that I spotted the wheels had been modified for ease of use.

I don’t know what it is, but I always love a shadow screen where we get to see silhouettes. They used this to their advantage to conceal certain information from the audience while creating a visually exciting performance. It’s a killer move that adds mystery and suspense.

This show does say in the extended title that it is ‘a new comedy musical’. The audience found this show hilarious, especially the references to British pop culture, including Lorraine Kelly, leaving the audience dying for more.

After the interval, we see a montage of the two leads growing up, how they became friends, along with big events that happened to them. While watching this, I couldn’t help but think this show might have been funnier if the characters were playing it slightly younger rather than at 30, as it says in the text, or maybe the other way and had them as older hobbyists.

Another standout scene was in the morgue. The timing and choreography here were top-tier. Though some might find this a little insensitive, others will find it hilarious. It’s to die for!

The ensemble in the show is amazing. I recognise a few faces from other shows I have seen recently where they were leading characters. They are giving it all they have and really bring this performance to life with seamless character to ensemble changes. They are the lifeblood of this production.

If this show finds the right audience, I have a killer instinct it will slay the ratings. It’s a dead-on hit!  I am a little unsure if the killer was meant to be obvious all the way through or if that was just me. There were also moments when information was given that you know will be used later, which I guess makes it funny for those that notice and a plot point for those that didn’t. There is definitely a bit of a Wayne’s World vibe to this show – two mismatched friends, in a garage, recording a show with a bog neon sign.

If you love the idea of podcasting, true crimes, and musical comedy, I can see you adoring this. I have already recommended it to many of my friends. For that reason, it’s a show worth seeing!

This show was reviewed on the 8th June 2024 at the Ambassadors Theatre, London where it runs until the September 2024.  Tickets available here: Home | Kathy And Stella Solve A Murder

Review written by Valentine Gale-Sides


Photo credit: Pamela Raith

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