top of page

Murder in the Dark | Original Theatre Online

Having previously toured the U.K. extensively, Murder in the Dark is now available to watch via the comfort of your own home thanks to Original Theatre’s streaming platform. Set on New Year's Eve, following a car accident on their way home from his mother’s funeral, former pop star Danny Sierra (Tom Chambers) and his family find themselves stranded at a cottage. Cut off from the outside world, their only hope is seeking salvation with Mrs Bateman (Susie Blake), a peculiar tenant who lives within the grounds. All is not as it seems and soon supernatural forces rear their heads and force the group to take a trip down memory lane.


Directed by Philip Franks, the piece is somewhat lost between a traditional ghost story and a thriller. There are several productions with similar themes thriving on tour and in London’s West End (think 2:22, The Woman In Black) and this unfortunately misses the mark. Tension fails to build and whilst it may have been more gripping watching the production in person, the choice to play out key ‘jump scare’ moments with a jarring slow-motion effect in the post production for the streaming service is more laughable than scary, cheapening the show. 


The set design of an abandoned cabin by Simon Kenny is interesting and moves us between the interior exterior seamlessly. It’s a shame that the script (Torben Betts) doesn’t allow for greater dialogue in these spaces, as the majority of the content is throwaway and adds nothing to the story. Lighting choices (Paul Pyant) attempt to create a spooky atmosphere, and at times does this, but lacks the gripping nature that would have audience members genuinely worried. In their own right, all the choices work, they just don’t seem to pair together so well. 

The cast, however, do their utmost with the material they have. Chambers gives a solid performance as the fading on edge pop star Danny Sierra. Chambers demonstrates the struggle the character is going through effortlessly with a range of contrasting of emotions displayed throughout. Blake as Mrs Bateman gives an animated performance, even if the character is written less frightening and more peculiar. Whilst the comedy scenes are clearly the standout moments for the character, it is a pity that the character central to the story is essentially misinterpreted throughout. Ensemble members also appear restricted in what they can do, given the script allows for very little character development. 


With its almost misleading title, Murder in the Dark lacks the grit, tension and suspense that this production would thrive on. Whilst there are glimmers of moments that could lead somewhere, we are consistently confused trying to work out what the production is trying to achieve. It’s always appreciated to be able to watch productions at home and make theatre more accessible for all. However, Murder in the Dark is almost dead-on arrival. 

Murder in the Dark, along with many more productions, is now available to stream online with a subscription service. For more information, you can follow the link here.

⭐️⭐️ (2*)

Gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Pamela Raith


bottom of page