The Suburban Murder

Galatos, Auckland

29/04/2010 - 08/05/2010

Production Details

The Outfit Theatre Company launch their 2010 season with their sixth original New Zealand work, an electrifying murder mystery set in the dark heart of suburban New Zealand. With a critically acclaimed reputation for explosively entertaining shows, Auckland’s hottest up-and-comers present a chilling play like no other.
It’s Agatha Christie meets David Lynch. It’s The Suburban Murder.
Welcome to Stillhaven Close. Amy Douglas, local boarder, babysitter and university graduate, has been found brutally murdered on a typically well-manicured lawn within the quiet community. The circumstances of this terrible crime are an apparent mystery. As the police and the media investigate, the long-buried secrets of this serene suburban street quickly rise to the surface, sending fingers pointing in all directions. If a pretty young woman was slain in your street, what would your neighbours say about you?
Who killed Amy Douglas?
A mammoth cast of 18 actors bring this chillingly entertaining play to life at one of Auckland’s oldest performance venues: Galatos. The grand old building at 17 Galatos Street, behind K’ Road, was once home to Theatre Corporate – a company who many consider to be the mothers and fathers of Auckland theatre. This sentiment is particularly true for The Outfit’s Co-Artistic Director, Sarah Graham, whose mother, ‘Shortland Street’ star Alison Quigan, also used to perform there many years ago. The Outfit are excited about continuing this tradition of excellence.
The Suburban Murder
29 April – 8 May
GALATOS Theatre, 17 Galatos Street
Tickets $18 (Concession $14)
Email bookings to:
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Joel Herbert

Sarah Graham

Andrew Ford
Pete Coates
Ema Barton
Toni Rowe
Gypsy Kauta
Nicole Jorgenson
Johnny Bright
Colin Garlick
Holly Bradfield
Solitaire Mahmoud
Jacqui Nauman
Jatinder Singh
And joining The Outfit for the first time, we're proud to welcome:
Jonathan Hodge
Matt Baker
Katie Scott
Ben Van Lier

Graduate ensemble produce killer theatre

Review by Paul Simei-Barton 03rd May 2010

Actor-driven murder mystery includes genuinely chilling moments 

Produced by an enthusiastic collective of recent drama school graduates, The Suburban Murder testifies to the quality of theatre education in Auckland while highlighting the extent to which aspiring actors must rely on their own enterprise to generate employment.

The devised work is clearly actor-driven and the huge cast of 17 all get a chance to get their teeth into well-rounded characters who are kitted out with intricate back-stories and challenging emotional moments. [More
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When evil hides in plain sight

Review by Joanna Davies 30th Apr 2010

There’s been a murder.

Amy Douglas’s body is found in a suburban park, right next to the quiet cul de sac where she boarded. And all hell breaks loose in a Shortland-Street-meets-Desperate-Housewives-style play where neighbours distrust each other, secrets bubble to the surface, and fear feeds a mob mentality.

The play follows the police investigation and Amy’s neighbours as suspicions mount and fingers are pointed in the days immediately following the murder. Few are beyond suspicion and the audience is kept wondering until the very end.

It’s all down to a great concept, fantastic writing and, on the whole, it’s extremely commendably executed. The cast of 17 portrays very distinctive and easy-to-relate-to characters who deal with the murder and its implications in their own way.

There are Amy’s school friends who don’t know how they should react, the guys who lusted after her, the worried parents, the timid used car salesman, the street’s Essex-esque “alco-trollop”, the upstanding family. Oh, and Rusty, the slightly intellectually handicapped man who is painted as a monster. Fortunately two detectives and a journalist help make sense of everything.  

Some cast members shone on opening night: Toni Rowe as the teenaged Isabelle Davis, Andrew Ford as the neighbourhood’s hairdresser, Joel Herbert as Rusty, the accused, and Ema Barton as Amy’s sister, Athena.

Sadly, the performance lacked an obvious rapport between the actors and while the performance was tight, and the lines were delivered technically well, the lack of stage chemistry let the show down. Chances are that will work itself out over the show’s run and it will be a totally different case by closing night.

The set and lighting bring everything together. Using just tables and a few chairs, the occasional props, and some clever lighting, the audience is transported from inside homes, to the hair salon, car dealership, police station, morgue and the neighbourhood watch meeting. The simplicity is brilliant and enables the cast to make full use of the venue.

The Suburban Murder does a great job of capturing the panic and fear felt when evil hides in plain sight. It’s an anti-stereotyping lesson that could be tighter (and perhaps shorter), but it’s engrossing from the first shout to the big reveal.
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