The Makings of a Murderer

There is no doubt that Mr Swindle is a man driven by wanting justice for the victims’ families”.

As we take our seats the stage is set, dressed to resemble a 1980’s TV murder drama. However, this guise of a play or drama only seeks to hide the fact that the ‘show’ will actually be in the form of a lecture given by former detective David Swindle.  It soon becomes clear that Mr Swindle may be retired but he is still obsessed by murder (catching the bad guys, that is, rather than committing it himself!)  Despite the fact that murders have been at the heart of stage dramas for decades, the evening has us questioning is true murder ever the basis of a night of “entertainment” at the theatre?  Well, it certainly filled the Adelphi Theatre on a night when it would have been dark - but this format lacks the drama or storyline of an Arthur Conan Doyle novel or the pace of a TV documentary.

Indeed, we would question whether this was theatre or merely using a theatre building to deliver what started off as a good idea.  In truth, there is little logical narrative to the making of a murderer, nor reasoned argument to the statements made.  The true theatrical crime is that this lecture is death by PowerPoint!  There is some humour in the evening, but again we are not sure if the humour is funny or just the audience looking for light relief.

Maybe we are not the target audience.  For those interested in criminology it potentially might be a good watch attested to by the murmurs around us.  However, Mr Swindle seems to never really finish a story or indeed a sentence.  And we are left with more questions than answers.  Even the questions the audience were encouraged to send in, by social media, were never fully answered.    For us the stand out question, posed by Mr Swindle early on was “did nature load the gun and society fire it?” but it was a question left hanging in the air for the following two and a half hours.

As we return for act two we notice that a lot of seats have been vacated.  This is a shame as the second act is slightly more cohesive, focusing as it does on Peter Tobin, the serial killer apprehended by David Swindles’ team.  But, even then, the former detective can’t help but throw in one more case right at the end - throwing us off the scent of what makes a murderer.

There is no doubt that Mr Swindle is a man driven by wanting justice for the victims’ families.  Murder has been David Swindle’s life, you might say it’s in his DNA.  But we leave wondering if he would be better finding himself a new hobby! As we leave the theatre, we notice that no one looks the same - if they don’t smile, you think they look shifty and in London that’s a lot of shifty people!

Mr Swindle generously poses for photos with the audience at the end.  That tells us that some people appreciated the evening, but this one is not for us. 

This show was reviewed at the Adelphi Theatre on the 18th April 2023.  The show continues on an extensive tour, details of which can be found here: The Makings of a Murderer - Entertainers

Review written by Paul Wood & Ian Worsey

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