Review: Go Back for Murder at PumpHouse Theatre

Living in a house full of women is enough to send any man off his chump.

So says Amyas Crale, the victim in the classic whodunit, Go Back for Murder.

I appreciated the Shoreside Theatre's adaptation, full of saucy cheek and innuendo.

It started with the flirtations of a suave solicitor and his client and ended with the indiscretions between a would-be victim and his mistress.

It's wartime Britain and an M.I.5 solicitor has been employed by Crale's daughter Carla to piece together her father's final moments in 1927.

The victim's wife Caroline was sent to prison for poisoning him but Carla has received a letter claiming her mother's innocence.

Carla's rounded up the witnesses, her father's mistress included, to step back in time and relive his last moments to try and identify the real killer.

The stand-out of this production, for me, was the casting.

The accents were near flawless, the male characters were physical and strong while the women were appropriately sassy, silly or stoic.

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And it could easily have come across as a cheap laugh but the occasional slapstick was enjoyable. Think of a doddery old man getting tangled in his scarf or a lovesick solicitor trying to look cool while tripping over a desk. Giggle, giggle.

When it comes to live theatre, you can't go past a good murder mystery. Especially one told by renowned playwright Agatha Christie.

The idyllic 190 seat historic PumpHouse Theatre on the banks of Lake Pupuke has been full with fans of the macabre 1940s tale.

Adapted from her best-seller, Five Little Pigs, the story delves into the seemingly unsolved case and pledges to tell it backwards. Backwards in that, the victim is already dead.

The silver-tongued mistress, the down-trodden wife, the colourful and humorous boffin, the precocious and hyperactive little sister and the kooky admiral are all suspects. Christie's 'five little pigs'.

One went to market, one stayed home, another had roast beef…

On entering the final scene it is still too hard to say who actually dunnit.

We all have our suspicions but to be sure, you will need to see it for yourself.

- Sunday Star Times


  1. Sounds like an authentic production, Michelle. Are there any contemporary messages to be had, especially for Kiwis?


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