There are few dinner theatre options in London – nowadays, in fact, the only options which spring to mind are the Faulty Towers dining experience, Proud Cabaret, and the table seat and dining option at the Kit Kat Club. Well, Funicular Productions are changing that with their new production The Murdér Express Part Deux Jewel of the Empire.

Credit: Laurence Howe

When you arrive at Pedley Street train station, you are immediately transported back in time from the moment the doors open. With 1930s décor, costumes, and of course the old-fashioned train, you are immersed within the era instantaneously. The plot centres around a very valuable diamond which has been discovered in India by archaeologist Dr Errol Earhart. His discovery is now being transported to the aptly named French city Murdér.

Before boarding the train, some time is spent on the platform as everyone checks in. Here you can browse the drinks menu by scanning a QR code on your table. The cocktail menu is comprehensive, and the drinks are well-made, inventive, (there is a tequila old fashioned!) and delicious. Before boarding, guests are encouraged to purchase the newspaper from the bar for £2.50. This isn’t necessary, and although there is a clue placed within the paper, your experience will not be hindered by not making this purchase. My plus one noticed a few grammar and spelling errors within the paper too.

The train is not real, unfortunately, although sound effects are implemented to make the setting more realistic. There are also screens on which videos are played to give the effect that you are moving. However, most of the video design is cartoonish, and therefore the effects of this are somewhat limited.

Although I’m not here to review food, it is part of the overall experience, so I do feel it requires mentioning. With a menu devised by Masterchef Professional Finalist Louisa Ellis, the four-course meal is fresh and varied. The starter and main could have used more seasoning, and the main course portions were not uniform in size – some people appeared to have more food than others. Also, the palate cleanser was different this evening from what was advertised and written on the menu on the table. Whilst this isn’t a big problem, it would have been nice to have this communicated to us and to know what we are eating instead. Dessert is an absolute highlight!

The plot is very funny and the performers do a great job at keeping you guessing throughout. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t make a good detective as I failed to correctly identify the murderer. You can tell the performers are enjoying themselves throughout, and there were even some moments in which they broke character to laugh at each other. The characters are caricatures; there is no depth to them here, but that is part of the fun, like being in an episode of Agatha Christie’s Poirot. The actors mingle with the audience during the show, coming to sit at your table and chatting with you about your predictions of the culprit. Clare Sloane plays the stuck-up Vera Valentine exceptionally well. Her disgust at having to sit with us and not in first class is palpable. George Wills is charismatic as our conductor Tomothy Timmins, and his chemistry with Miss Marie (Georgia Corrigan) is intense to watch in such proximity.

Prices begin at £69.50, which is in line with other dining experiences such as Faulty Towers, and this price does include your four-course meal.

This is a show which doesn’t take itself seriously, and neither should you. The plot may be slightly thin on the ground, but the overall experience is a whole lot of fun – you’ll be laughing from start to finish. It’s camp, hilarious, and a great evening out!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Murdér Express Part Deux is booking until November 2023 – find tickets and info here!

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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