Indian Ink has done it again

By Emma Maguire (Wellingtonista)

Welcome to the Murder House is dark, deadly, a little bit sexy, and something you definitely should read the press release for before you see because it does not pull any punches.

Our five main characters; death-row convicts who have a particular penchant for theatre, take us on a wild journey to tell us the tale of Alfred Southwick, the man who invented the electric chair. (As it was made to make deaths quick and painless, they all have a particular interest in that area.)

This show is quite vaudeville – a thrilling performance style popular in 1890s America where this play is set – and contains a mad molding of puppetry, live music, dance and comedy – all of which Indian Ink is well-known for. Most of the performers play several characters, and each are thoroughly distinct from the one before – major kudos to all the performers for nailing multiple different accents and mannerisms and switching between them incredibly fast.

It is joyous to watch, despite the grim nature of most of the piece, because the performers are just so damn good at it. Though there are times when the miserable content becomes a little hard to bear (the last ten or so minutes were that, for me), the comedy, musicality and energy in the show balances things out perfectly so the show isn’t an absolute downer.

Speaking of the musicality, every single song in this show is phenomenal. It’s been nearly a full day since I saw the show and I’ve still got the headline song stuck in my head.

(Considering said song is about murder, that’s a little bit of a worry.)

Welcome to the Murder House is an amazingly well-constructed piece of theatre. Though the history in this show is somewhat fudged – a lot of the characters never actually met each other, and Alfred Southwick’s real story was far less musical than portrayed – how much is actually real is left up to you to decide. It’s phenomenal, and you should definitely go and see it.

It’s an absolute killer.