Death Drop Review
Having seen many positive reviews from Death Drop when it opened last December I was excited to see this t the Garrick theatre. After the incredible but emotional Cruise we were looking forward to some ridiculous comedy. This just made it all the more disappointing when it failed to deliver.
While there were a few laugh out loud moments they were infrequent and it failed to fully engage the audience. Below I attempt to constructively explain this.
The story is the classic whodunnit, which likely will have many parallels to the Cluedo the play (which is planned for next year). On Tuck Island the lady of the manor has invited a disparate group of people to a dinner party in honour of / celebration of Charles and Diana’s 10th wedding anniversary (it’s set in ’91). The guests range from Rich Whiteman, a Tory MP, to a US pop star, to World of the News editor Morgan Pierce. During the evening there is a storm and the only road from the island is blocked, trapping the guests together overnight with a murderer on the loose. The stage is set for a great story and is ripe for comedy.
However, the story does not live up to its promise. It takes a lot of time to get going and while they tried to build intrigue it never really came across properly. The plot at many times felt rushed and under developed without any idea of where they were headed. I expected the plot to be ridiculous, being a vehicle for the drag performers, but it didn’t lean into this. At most times it felt they were unsure where they wanted to take it.
Without a real plot it relied on, to be expected, the comedy of the show. This was let down by both the script and the direction. There were a few good flashes of humour early on but it slowed quickly. The set up gave them ample scope but they missed so many opportunities, although it did improve in the second act.
In terms of direction, I would have expected them to bring in a lot of physical comedy which again was ripe with opportunities that were constantly ignored. There wasn’t even a death drop included.
The direction didn’t deal with the dialogue well as it needed to be a lot faster paced. Much of the character exposition happened in the first act but making it slow doesn’t make it mysterious. Again, this improved in the second act. As many reviews had been based on the original cast from December it may be both this and the physical comedy were better then. But that’s no excuse for not maintaining the same quality.
Having seen many drag acts they have a unique brand of comedy but that was not made use of here and their usual wit was in short supply. The laugh out loud moments were not plentiful enough and while there were some flashes of brilliance (the original song Oopsie Whoopsie Daisy being an obvious one) it wasn’t enough. It certainly has a lot of potential and with reworking could be a great show, it just unfortunately at present doesn’t match expectations.
Rating: 2 Stars