There’s been a murder down at “The Empire”, the fictitious setting for this macabre musical cabaret performed by popular and innovative theatre company, Les Enfants Terribles, and every character is a suspect.
The Compère (Oliver Lansley) introduces each of the “acts” and the scene is set to discover who killed manager, Charlie (Richard Emerson). Each act has their reasons and tells their story through song and dance which is both amusing and entertaining.
First up is Ray the Blade, played by Will Arundel, a creepy character and perhaps chief suspect given the fact his act revolves around a weapon. Then the audience down at the Palais Du Variété are treated to the Cerberus sisters (Emma Fraser, Nicola Hawkin and Phillipa Hogg) who can sing, dance, strip and strangle, before mime artiste Gaston Gasteau (Philip Oakland) tells his story through actions rather than words. The Great Mephisto is played by Tsemaye Bob-Egbe who sings with a quality which would make a show all of its own and finally Albert Frog (Anthony Spargo) takes to the stage with his ventriliquist’s dummy, Mr Punchy.
The show is entertaining from first to last and the cast of only nine show-off a range of talents in the 70 minute production, playing instruments, a string of characters and singing their way through a number of cleverly written musical numbers which have everybody smiling from beginning to end.
The Empire seems like the best show in town and The Vaudevillains may just be that to the Edinburgh Fringe. It is a polished production which would be at home on any West End or Broadway stage and if the audience are looking for a show which ticks all the boxes then they may just have found it in The Vaudevillains: catchy musical numbers – check; laugh-out-loud moments – check; murder mystery – check; talent to behold – check. The list is endless and you cannot help but leave with a smile knowing you may just have seen one of the surprise picks of the Fringe.