Back in the summer of 2021, I came across the first of what was designed to be a trio of murder mystery spoofs with clear nods to Agatha Christie in their titles. This was Murder On The 12:32 To Bristol and it introduced the central figure of Miles, a Bristol criminology student. Now he’s back in part two and it’s just as much fun and cleverly produced as its predecessor – even if there has been something like an eighteen month gap in between. And Then There Were Some takes the tropes of one of the most famous of Christie’s narratives and runs with them to provide an ingenious homage with plenty of laughs – well, after all it is a production from Gigglemug famed for their claim “we’re serious about being silly”.
I’m not sure why there has been such a mammoth gap between episodes – indeed I had all but assumed the project had stuttered to a close. It can’t be that they couldn’t manage to get the cast together, for the simple reason that this consists of just one actor. Lewis Doherty manages to find a whole range of new voices and characterisations with which to people this world – ironically a murder mystery evening for criminology students taking place in a remote country location with (of course) zero access to a mobile phone network. Doherty’s extreme vocal versatility gives us, among others, the essence of a Hooray Henry rowing type, a Spanish clairvoyant, a spiky columnist and so on. As in the original these victims are picked off one by one leaving criminology student Miles, conveniently playing the Inspector at the murder mystery evening, and his trusty sidekick Mo to solve the unexpected series of deaths. One by one the attendees drop like the proverbial flies subjected to various forms of poisoning, stabbing, falling from a height, booby traps etc. according to the dictates of a nursery rhyme just as in the original. If that sounds convoluted that’s because it is, but at the same time it’s great fun, especially hearing Doherty flip from one character to another with apparently consummate ease.
Meanwhile there’s plenty of amusement to be had from writer/director Sam Cochrane’s script which is laced with dry wit as well as more obvious jokes. I particularly enjoyed a running gag which takes the mickey out of absurd musical theatre titles. The revamped central nursery rhyme which drives the action and prefigures the style of death of the victims replaces Christie’s original, avoiding the offence inherent in the lyrics so you can also have some fun seeing if you work out how the next death is going to occur from the riddling cues. The denouement is pleasingly convoluted though it’s not particularly hard to work out the manipulating force behind the murders. As before, Miles comes up trumps but not before undergoing some personal agonies of his own. On that point, there are teasing references to the first episode so best to listen to the previous tale first to avoid confusion.
As before this is an ingenious comedy homage to the Queen of Crime which clearly comes from a place of affection as much as satire and will certainly give you plenty of chance to exercise those “little grey cells”. It almost certainly repays more than one listen and, if nothing else, that will give you the perfect chance to further marvel at Doherty’s consistently inventive vocal dexterity. The piece concludes with a brief teaser snippet for upcoming episode three, appropriately called The Spousetrap. Though there’s no indication as to how far down the line that will emerge, whenever it does that will certainly be, for me, an Appointment With Death (sorry!)