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The Detective's Demise/To Be a Prince | The Other Palace Studio

When a renowned police detective gathers his nearest and dearest to celebrate his birthday and impending retirement, it can only end one way really. And, as all fans of Agatha Christie will know, that way is murder. 

And so it is in The Detective’s Demise, a new murder mystery comedy musical which played a one-night warm-up for the Edinburgh Fringe at London’s Other Palace Studio on 6 July. By the end of the first song, detective Ben Stone (Kit Colville) is dead and trainee Molly Evans (Nora Shields) is tasked with finding his killer. Suspects abound, from jealous best friend Sam (Will Bartlett) to alcoholic brother Alex (James Taylor), and of course wife Kate (Amy Smith), who just happened to discuss Ben’s life insurance with him shortly before the murder. 

Writer-director Tom Rolph leads the audience through these suspects through song, with each character given the opportunity to introduce themselves and state their case. The soundtrack, with music from Michael Rincon, is catchy and upbeat, and stepsister Lucy’s (Naomi Park) list of all the ways she loved Ben ‘Platonically’ is a particular standout. These songs are also accompanied by energetic and fun choreography from Hermione Lester.

Within just 50 minutes, Rolph’s script covers a satisfying number of twists and turns, as well as provoking laughs at every opportunity. While some elements may feel slightly rushed in the current format, given a longer runtime and further opportunity to develop, this show could truly soar.

For now, The Detective’s Demise is certainly a welcome addition to the Edinburgh Fringe line-up and should not be missed by fans of a good old-fashioned murder mystery, or indeed a good laugh. 

The Detective’s Demise will run at the Space Triplex (venue 38), Edinburgh between 12-19 August. For more information and tickets, follow the link here.


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4*)


Won’t somebody think of the fairytale princes? Never given enough lines, or memorable songs, or even much of a personality most of the time. 

This is the issue which Tom Rolph’s main character is looking to address in his one-man show To Be A Prince, which he performed at The Other Palace Studio on 6 July ahead of an Edinburgh Fringe run in August. 

Rolph also wrote and directed the show, with musical support from Michael Rincon and Joe Sartin, and support in the form of secondary characters from recordings by Joe Sartin, Lizzy Monds, Amy Smith and Naomi Park.

His character, named simply Prince (and yes, the obvious joke does make it into the script), finds a magic lamp and awakens a genie (voiced by Joe Sartin), who offers him three wishes. So far, so fairytale. But Prince uses this opportunity to lament his pitiable state, and his wishes to try to change it. However, as the wishes lead to him taking on different roles in the story, he starts to realise that his position might not be so bad after all. 

Rolph is charismatic and funny as Prince, quickly winning the audience over, while Sartin makes a good sparring partner as the genie. The three princesses have excellent singing voices, although they are not given any other interaction with Prince, and this could be an interesting avenue for development in future. 

This show is one for the Disney-lovers, hitting all the familiar beats. The songs are fun and the book is witty, but the story feels a little directionless at times and the recordings do not entirely make up for the lack of supporting characters, with the show feeling suspended somewhere between a one-man show and a larger musical. Still, it is an enjoyable way to spend 45 minutes, with plenty of laughs and a heartwarming message to take away.

To Be A Prince will run at Paradise in the Vault, Edinburgh between 12-17 and 19-25 August. For more information and tickets, follow the link here.

⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3*)

Gifted tickets in return for an honest review


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