Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder return to the fringe for the second year, presenting to many sell-out audiences. This innovative concept of a musical has found its audience, providing a somewhat relatable (but also hopefully completely unrelatable) show for true-crime fans. With catchy songs and enthralling plot twists, this show continues to please audiences. A cast of seven performs the show, with a band of four on stage.
This show tells the tale of two relatable young women in Hull who host their true crime podcast. Their idol, a top crime author, Felicia Taylor, has a meeting with them in the city, following which she gets brutally murdered. The author is decapitated, with the severed head sent to Kathy and Stella. This happening is both to the girls’ horror and weirdly their joy, as they have the chance to help investigate a real-life crime where they are at the beginning of the story. This situation presents their podcast with an opportunity.
Kathy and Stella, unlike many musicals, centres on a story of female friendship, providing a unique offering to the musical theatre scene. The two leads (Bronté Barbé and Rebekah Hinds) have genuine chemistry, enabling the audience to buy into their relationship. The song “If I didn’t have you, I would die” shows the power of the best friendship, to its benefit and detriment. The show also provides an insight into the intriguing world of true-crime obsession, reflecting on how social media detectives can intervene with police investigations and lead to frenzies targeting innocent people with questionable morals.
The cast is talented, with the two lead ladies well cast with fantastic voices. The three main supporting actors are excellent, with some phenomenal multi-rolling, with Jodie Jacobs and TJ Lloyd playing at least three significant characters throughout the show each. It would have been nice to see more time given to the two additional ensemble members, who could have reduced the need for some of this multi-rolling, which may have led to clearer characterisation. Additionally, some moments lacked vocal clarity, where lyrics and lines could be delivered more clearly.
Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder is ultimately a great addition to the musical theatre scene, covering engaging new topics, and is likely to have true-crime fans returning for multiple viewings.
Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder runs at Underbelly George Square until the 27th of August. Book tickets here: https://underbellyedinburgh.co.uk/event/kathy-and-stella-solve-a-murder