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Review: Til Death Do Us Part!, an original play written by Matthew Attwood and Grace Baker, Not So Nice! Theatre Company

Not So Nice! Theatre Company staged a spectacular immersive wedding-themed murder mystery evening at Bury St Edmunds Guildhall on August 7.

The audience couldn't simply sit back and watch, but were asked to arrive dressed as guests attending the wedding reception of Benjamin and Darcy Hastings, who had tied the knot and were eager to celebrate alongside their close friends and family – or so they thought.

Guests were welcomed with a drink, followed by a light three-course meal (catered by Gina Oliver, from Gin and Olive Catering), while the show featured live musical performances.

Til Death Do Us Part. Picture: Mannox Creative (50311641)
Til Death Do Us Part. Picture: Mannox Creative (50311641)

It was a piece full of twists and turns, with moments of comedy and tragedy. From the clever webbing of unrequited love, hidden secrets and tense conflicts from the top table, Attwood and Baker created an engaging, drama-filled evening that left audiences wanting more.

Attwood and Baker are the co-founders of Not So Nice! Theatre Company, which was formed after they graduated with first class drama degrees from Anglia Ruskin University in 2020.

Attwood said:“This production was Not So Nice!'s first in-person performance and we were thrilled to be commissioned by the Guildhall to create a production for its arts festival this year. Despite the challenges we have all faced over the last two years, we were determined to design a production that would be captivating for audiences and allow us to produce a piece of theatre that didn't fit a conventional mould."

Til Death Do Us Part. Picture: Mannox Creative (50311635)
Til Death Do Us Part. Picture: Mannox Creative (50311635)

Baker played the role of Darcy Watson (the bride). Her performance highlighted the naïve and insecure nature of the fragile Darcy, complemented by the pompous and egotistical groom Ben Hastings (Oliver Haworth).

Callum Brown portrayed the best man and brother of Ben, Tristan Hastings. Brown was able to give light and shade throughout the performance showing Tristan's soft yet controlled aggressive side. Alaine Weide performed as the overbearing and assertive mother of the groom, Kathy Hastings, embodying her character totally.

Emily Barlow conducted herself as the mean-spirited Meghan Watson, demonstrating the narcissistic, self-absorbed and ignorant nature of the character.

Eloise Trett was overprotective big sister Penny Watson. Trett's performance was complex, filled with peaks and valleys in her vocal and physical deliver. Colin Baker portrayed the alcoholic father of the bride, seizing every moment to steal the audience's attention.

Til Death Do Us Part. Picture: Mannox Creative (50311637)
Til Death Do Us Part. Picture: Mannox Creative (50311637)

Ellie Tate gave a stand-out performance as Lindsey Christie. She commanded attention and led the charge at every point. Tate delivered a stunning performance as she poked and prodded the top table for the answers she desired, her calm but authoritative tone allowing the audience to be in the palm of her hand as she guided the audience to understand why the victim was murdered.

Baker's rendition of Eva Cassidy's Songbird was emotional and heartfelt.

Musical performances were accompanied by Calvin Goymer, who did an excellent job on keys throughout.

Til Death Do Us Part. Picture: Mannox Creative (50311639)
Til Death Do Us Part. Picture: Mannox Creative (50311639)

Marilyn Lee, Guildhall trustee, said: "From the drinks reception with cast members mingling with the audience to the final denouement, it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening. It was well written and acted. We are all looking forward to another performance by the Not so Nice Theatre Company."

Matthew Oliver

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