Between the 10th and 22nd July, The King’s Head Theatre will be opening its doors to Festival 47, three weeks of new writing from “the UK’s most exciting, bold and ambitious emerging companies”. One of those companies is Off The Middle who will be showcasing their new spoof murder-mystery, Lead Suspect. We asked writer and director Stephanie Withers about the show and about Off The Middle’s plans for “exciting, playful and relevant new writing” …
As a company we are really interested in playing with the audience and performer relationship. We want the audience to be more actively engaged, to have a more personal connection to the performers and story.
Celeste Dodwell and Matthew Seager in the company’s critically acclaimed ‘In Other Words’ (Photo – Alex Fine)
For ‘In Other Words’ we did this in an intimate way; the audience were lit during the show, actors spoke to them frankly and openly, and they sat so close to the actors it made them feel like they were in our characters front room. For ‘Lead Suspect’ it is a more playful dynamic, where the audience are referenced throughout, and often lend a helping hand to our actors onstage.
Lead Suspect – Rehearsals
Though the two subject matters couldn’t be further apart; a moving love story concerning a couple’s experience of Alzheimer’s disease, and a spoof murder-mystery where actors play dogs who solve the crime, we know both shows are rooted in playfulness, creative storytelling, and celebrate the live-ness of theatre.
At the moment telling stories through creative means is something that really interests us, whether that’s through actors playing dogs, or doing a play that spans a 50 year timeframe within an hour, we want to make theatre that provokes creativity and sparks an audiences imagination.
Lead Suspect is a show inspired by the curious case of the 2015 Crufts dog show poisoning. In this unique comedy dog murder mystery actors tell us the story through the eyes of the canine competitors, and solve the crime. Join unlikely hero Scott the Scottish Terrier as he investigates and asks the age old question, was it the Pug or the Poodle?
is at the King’s Head Theatre from the 17th to 20th July
To get your paws on limited £10 tickets add code ‘doggystyle’ if you have a valid student card, or upload a picture of yourself and a canine friend to @OTM_Theatre with #leadsuspect, for a separate £10 code