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REVIEW - The Cat and The Canary - This comedy thriller is a great way to get in the mood for Halloween!


One of our trusted reviewers, Lizzie Johnston, visited the Manchester Opera House on Monday to see The Cat and The Canary. Read her review of the scary drama...

Bill Kenright’s Classic Thriller Theatre Company’s latest whodunnit is a autumnal thrill, and a great start to the Halloween week.

The Cat and The Canary is a classic story, based on a silent film and told many times through films and plays. It’s set 20 years after the death of Mr. West and his descendants gather to find out who will inherit his wealth and family jewels. As expected, every family member wants to be the heir, but to what extent?

The classic murder mystery storyline has been sprinkled with comedy, keeping the audience engaged and on their toes, questioning the characters’ truthfulness throughout. The production is star-studded, starring Bond-girl legend Britt Ekland, Anthony Costa from Blue, Coronation Street star Tracy Shaw, and West End leading lady Marti Webb. I can’t think of a better way to have spent my Monday evening!

The creepy atmosphere was set before the play even began. The theatre was flooded with thriller music, so you knew exactly what vibe to expect and was prepared for the creepy opening. The audience were thrown right into the thriller, with a haunted nursery rhyme sang by a child to open the scene.

The range of characters instantly grabbed my attention, they’re the eccentric version of a dysfunctional family - the characteristics were almost like a caricature, but this added to the comedic effect. The play reminded me of an Only Fools and Horses sketch, so it was bound to be enjoyable. The atmosphere of the theatre was great, people were chatting away in the interval and after the show, talking about who they thought was the villain and the stand-out moments of the play. This is always a brilliant sign that people are completely engrossed and enjoying the evening.

The set itself was beautiful. It’s post-war Britain, the costumes reflect the different lives of status of the characters - from beautifully groomed hair, gorgeous dresses to a maid’s outfit. The Detailed set was made up of oak panelling, huge paintings and grand furniture, you could tell straight away that this was a home the extremely wealthy. A perfect set for a murder mystery!

The Opera House is one of my favourite theatres so it was great to be back there. Although I’m not sure if the air conditioning was on too high or if it was part of the play, but the cold chill really did add to the atmosphere. Almost like a fourth dimension!

If you’re like me and are easily frightened, this comedy thriller is a great way to get in the mood for Halloween or just another great murder mystery to add to the list! It’s the perfect balance between a good chuckle and the odd jump scare.

We score The Cat and The Canary - 8/10

The Cat and The Canary is running until Saturday at the Manchester Opera House.


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