Murder abounds in the mysterious play of dramatic twists and turns featuring puppets around every corner at Who Killed Gertrude Crump.
Should you see it?
Agatha Christie narrates what she claims to be her first novel, unpublished for a reason, which involves scandalous love affairs, bone chilling secrets and murder most high, all featuring puppets. I would love to say that the World Premiere of Who Killed Gertrude Crump went off without a hitch, but unfortunately that would be a lie.
I’ve been a fan of puppetry ever since I read my first Ronnie Burkett play in first year University and started to go and see his shows every time he came through Ottawa. Any chance I get to see a puppet show I’m there. It’s hard, something I could never do, yet if done properly has all the ingredients to make for superb theatre.
In Who Killed Gertrude Crump it’s not the story that slows down, it’s the performer. Sure, the story isn’t the most fast paced murder-mystery story out there. It’s quite simple in its own element and gives itself away if you look carefully enough within the first fifteen minutes, but if properly put together it could still deliver a good solid punch.
Unfortunately the performance was simply too unpolished. Tara Travis had way too much on her plate. While narrating the story as Agatha Christie, she was also responsible for all 10 puppet characters, including a slew of different dialects and a nasty bit of memorization. Travis is amazing. You cannot simply say that enough. She was able to do more of that show than most people would ever be able to, but by the time we hit the second half of the show you could tell she was just physically exhausted. She started to forget cues and had to be prompted on multiple occasions. The puppets themselves started to actually fall apart, we literally had heads rolling across the stage. And most pressing is that the pace dropped to a sluggish snails crawl.
The show ended running 15 minutes over, which I was just lucky it was my last show of the day because if it weren’t I would have to do what the person in front of me did and leave early. This is a show that really needs to work out some of its kinks before it continues with its tour. Perhaps check it out closer to the end of its run.
What did you think of Who Killed Gertrude Crump? Do you like puppet shows? If so, how does this rank against some of your favourites? Join the discussion in the comments below!
For more information on Who Killed Gertrude Crump, including show times and how to get advance tickets, visit the show page on OttawaFringe.com: http://ottawafringe.com/tickets/who-killed-gertrude-crump/