Review: Who Killed the Pop Star?, Leith Constitution Bar

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COMMUNITY theatre is all about participation, right? So what better play could the Leith Community Theatre have chosen than Who Killed the Pop Star?, an 80s-themed murder mystery in which the audience compete to guess the culprits and their motives?

We’re asked not to write in first person here at the News, but I really want you to know that not only did my friend and I guess the murderers correctly, we got a bottle of wine and a pack of Curly Wurlys into the bargain.

It’s important that you know this, so that I can publicly deny any suggestions that I might have been bribed for that elusive fourth star. I wasn’t. This is genuinely an incredibly fun, funny and friendly show.

Derek and Cuthbert Thompson are pop-sensation twins at the height of the 80s. They’ve got all the women, vacuous songs, and big hairdos they could possibly want. But when Derek ends up mauled by a tiger in the recording studio, the secrets behind Wham!!’s rise to stardom emerge one by one.

Be warned, every other line is a quote from an 80s pop song.

Lucy McBean as an incompetent work experience policewoman earns the most laughs, closely followed by Susan Robinson, who gives an admirably committed performance as Derek’s lusty ex-girlfriend. Sean Quinn as Derek, Katherine Taylor as a washed-up songstress, and Isla Menzies’ narrator also give stand-out performances.

What really makes this production fun is the evident joy of everyone involved. There are the usual sticky patches you expect in community theatre, but the cast improvises around them and the momentum of the show is never lost.

Particularly impressive at this was Kerry McLeod as the downtrodden studio assistant, who improvised a great joke about the set collapsing around her – all while staying in character.

It is clearly a lot of fun to be involved in Leith Community Theatre. That goes for their audience too, who last night were chatting to each other, shamelessly dancing away to Kerri MacFarlane’s 80s covers, and generally having a great time.

Run ends Saturday

Rating: ****