Cyanide in the Speakeasy

Cyanide in the Speakeasy playing at the COLAB Tavern

It’s amazing how many people want to be an amateur detective. London’s Prince Charles cinema regularly holds `Solve-Along-A-Murder-She-Wrote” events which are amazingly popular. The reason I mention this is that Moonstone has brought its immersive show Cyanide in the Speakeasy to the Colab Tavern. My friend Michael and I donned our deerstalkers, cleaned our magnifying glass, and went sleuthing.

Cyanide in the Speakeasy
Cyanide in the Speakeasy

We were going back in time to New York in 1925, when prohibition was in force and the only place a person could get an alcoholic drink was in a speakeasy like the Smokey Blues. The owner of the bar makes money, not only from bootleg booze but also from good old blackmail. but it’s just possible he has gone too far with one of his victims for Hartsby is dead and someone has murdered him. We find all this out during our detective induction and briefing with Inspector Rutherford (Sam Emmerson). We also find out that there are four suspects, Rose (Alice Corrigan), Nick (Chris J Railton), Daisy (Lauren Shotton) and James (Richard Delroy). In a place where everyone has a secret, our task was to find a murderer.

My original plan with Cyanide in the Speakeasy was to be a real Hercule Poirot, sit on an easy chair and solve the murder through sheer brain power. Unfortunately, thanks to the story crafted by Moonstone Murder Mysteries, my little grey cells were not up to the job and so I had to physically become involved in the investigation. This meant Michael and I exploring the speakeasy and talking to the suspects, and I have to admit we had a great time doing it. In fact, I surprised myself with my interrogation skills as I delved into each character and their possible motive for murder. And I was really impressed with the actors and their abilities in dealing with the amateur sleuths. I don’t know exactly how these things work but I assume there is some sort of basic script that ensures all the right information goes out, and the rest is character improvisation based on the questions they are asked. Hats off to all of them for their abilities in this area. Their skill at responding to whatever was thrown at them was truly wonderful to behold, and this was really evident on the night I went where one of the detectives threw in a real curveball about magic that made us laugh and really tested the cast’s skills. A test they passed superbly.

The story itself fits the genre of murder mystery nicely, with things thrown in to distract the detectives and throw them off the scent. To my mind, having only four suspects is a bit of a drawback, as it narrowed the field a bit too much, another couple would have added to the fun. As it was, Michael and I, in our guise of Holmes and Watson or maybe Poirot and Hastings, made up our minds on the murderer fairly early – in fact, in true detective sidekick tradition, Michael confidently told me who it was after we interviewed our first suspect. However, in true murder mystery style, we also changed our minds quite a bit – though I am proud to say we not only correctly exposed the murderer, but also worked out one of the other suspect’s secret before it was revealed.

For me, Cyanide in the Speakeasy was an enjoyable couple of hours spent detecting. Personally, I would have liked to see a couple more suspects and a few fewer detectives, but overall it’s a well-put-together murder mystery that the detectives can get as involved in as much as they want. There is plenty to explore in the speakeasy and lots of clues and red herrings around. There is also a bar with appropriately themed cocktails and a helpful newspaper, and there is a very talented cast of actors, skilled in the improvisational arts, to guide and lead you astray. Who knew murder and detection could be such fun?

4 Stars

Review by Terry Eastham

Enter the door and step back in time to 1920’s prohibition, as Moonstone Murder Mysteries takes over the COLAB Tavern for this Immersive Murder Mystery.

The year is 1925, and as Speakeasies pop up under every street corner, the elites are forced to mix alike with the common man for the simple taste of moonshine. Just off the corner of Wall Street, through an inconspicuous convenience store, hides the infamous Smokey Blues Speakeasy.

The owner, a ruthless crook, prides himself on gathering blackmail on his patrons and it seems someone has had enough of his devious schemes. Join Moonstone Murder Mysteries for this immersive experience, where you will have the opportunity to interrogate suspects, decipher clues and try avoid red herrings along the way!

All the clues are there, will they be deduced?

Can you catch the killer?

Cyanide in the Speakeasy

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