All aboard! No murder has yet been committed at the Murdér Express – whereas the food is to die for (well, almost – let me have my pun).
Underneath the arch where Pedley Street station used to be is now a portal that transports all who-dare-enter back to the 1920s. A dapper ticket booth operator greets the travellers that are then ushered onto the platform area by the eager-to-please conductor.
The platform hosts the 7-Sins-bar which offers strong cocktails named after said misbehaviour. At the 7 Sins passengers mingle for half an hour and can get acquainted with Starlet Tilly, her (almost) ex-husband Frank and young and wide-eyed waiter Tomothy, always found by Tilly’s side. Also flannelling through the train are posh dame Valentina and cowboy gangster Cliff. Val amps up the drama, Cliff the humour and Tilly the glamour. It becomes apparent each of the travellers have a bone to pick with notorious scammer Frank.
Lean back on the blue seats of this plush train on its way to an idyllic French town as the drama unfolds along the aisle. The feast is kicked off with mouthwatering Mushroom Duxelles Crostini, followed by a big helping of Parsnip and Maple Velouté. The scrumptious main is a three-bird roast, Cauliflower, Truffle Pomme Puree, Chestnuts & Hispi Cabbage. As the show draws to a conclusion, a Speculoos and Oat Cookie Crack Pie with ice cream is served.
Everything feels luxurious: the setting, the food, the silverware, even the napkins. The four-course meal has been designed in partnership with BBC MasterChef The Professionals Finalist (2017) Louisa Ellis. It is a delicious set of comforting dishes – and the generous portions will leave guests more than sated. It’s not mindbogglingly experimental food but will likely please most ticketholders – in our group, I couldn’t see any dishes go back other than empty.
The 2-hour experience has to be seen as more of a dinner with entertainment rather than a theatrical experience. It’s suitable for those wanting to go out to dine but are looking for something more special. The actors who are unfortunately not named anywhere are all a pleasure to watch, and the audience audience interaction never gets uncomfortable. All other staff are absolutely lovely too, and food and drinks are all appetising and tasty. A special mention needs to go to the set design, the lovingly curated props and train interiors deserve applause.
At £57.00 – £65.00 the tickets are on the pricier side, but nevertheless I’d lean towards recommending it to support the efforts of Funicular Productions.
Reviewed by Lisa Theresa Downey-Dent
FOLLOW WEST END WILMA