Catchy songs, witty and clever dialogue, and solid production mark the incredibly self-aware show The Dearly Departed as morbid fun.
Firstly, the songs. Despite the mix of pre-recorded and live, the songs were delivered well and had good balance. The harmonies between the two female voices with the male created a really enjoyable sound, and the lyrics brought chuckles to everyone in the audience, which is an ideal reaction for a comedy. The tunes were a mixture of catchy and pleasant, and it would be interesting to see if they could be expanded to an ensemble in the future. Plus all three performers were great singers, which helped carry the day.
From a production wise, barring one or two mishaps that happened on stage, the show was very well done. The mishaps (a bracelet getting caught and breaking, and a mask clip breaking) were hardly the fault of any of the performers, and they didn’t miss a beat when these things happened (both fortunately in stage changes). Everything else worked well, with the space being utilised in an effective manner despite there not being much of it. The costumes (and costume changes) were so absurd they had to be self-aware, and the character changes (3 actors with 4 characters to play is nothing short of amusing at the best of times) added to the humour.
The coffin keyboard was just a pleasant finishing touch really.
Unfortunately, it is in the plot that this show is let down. Although the amusing dialogue and blatantly obvious in its parody of the crime and mystery genres (not to mention musicals), after the first fifteen minutes it seemed to be a bit “stuck”. From a pure plot perspective, it was not well paced, with the middle dragging on slightly too long, and then everything rushing in the last few minutes to a rather unsatisfying end. Perhaps it is too much to ask from a comedy show, but it would have been nice to have some form of more definite and satisfying conclusions to the plots. Which also could have been made slightly more explicit at the beginning.
Overall, a funny and well-produced performance that had some slightly unfulfilling moments, but solid. If you are after a fun night out, with amusing dialogue, meta-awareness, and catchy songs, The Dearly Departed is just the show for you!
The Dearly Departed opens on Monday 26th November and runs for 6 nights only. Bookings recommended.