Corpus Delicti!

La Mama Courthouse

L:a Mamma
09 Apr – 14 Apr
More Info

Off-the-wall … wacky and wild, this whodunnit is so much fun. Hark back to the middle of last century. Corpus Delicti! concerns a filthy rich divorced man who is about to turn 40. John Brady (Chris Saxton) has bought himself a private tropical island – Werewolf Island – on which he has built a mansion. He has inherited a gardener named Evans (Chris Tomkins), who enjoys a tipple. He has engaged Wilkes (Matthew McDonald) as his private secretary and hired security in the form of the trigger-happy Booth (Mark Woodward). Wilkes and Booth though rub each other up the wrong way.

Also on the island is Nanny (Amanda Buckley), whose mind appears to be going, if it is not already gone. She speaks gibberish. But on the eve of John’s 40th birthday, Nanny warns him about the Brady curse that involves a portent of doom. To that end, arriving with an important letter is John’s ex-wife, now a martini-sipping detective, Vera Brady (Kathryn Tohill). She tells John that he is in the crosshairs of a cold and calculated assassin who has never failed to track down and dispense with his targets. John doesn’t seem overly concerned, although he has every reason to be. He has only known each of his employees for a fortnight and none is above suspicion. In fact, the killer must be hiding in plain sight. And, already there is a pungent dead body smell in the air.

Photo by Darren Gill

Corpus Delicti! is the brainchild of writers James Hazelden (who also directs the piece) and Nicholas Rasche. At its core is hijinks and slapstick humour, with a few deliberately lame jokes thrown in for good measure. It is an oh so silly, but at the same time clever and satisfying ride into the absurd. With a small set and few props, Corpus Delicti! relies upon the script and performances to carry the day and that they most certainly do. Cast members are masters of exaggerated affectations and delivery. They milk the material for all it is worth. Their characterisations are a hoot. Complete with upturned moustache (think Hercule Poirot), Chris Saxton leads the way, ensuring we never regard John Brady as the sharpest tool in the shed.

Corpus Delicti! is a Latin phrase that translates as “body of the crime”. It refers to the principle that no one should be convicted of an offence without sufficient evidence that a crime occurred. In fact, it would be a crime not to see this outrageous, witty and willing offering as part of your Melbourne International Comedy Festival revelry. It is playing at La Mama Courthouse until 14th April, 2024. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is on until 21st April. To book for shows, go to

Alex First

Alex First

Alex First believes all people have a story to tell, if only a good playwright can prize it out of them. Alex has a natural curiosity about the world and believes a strong narrative, or narrative with music, can open the door to subjects about which he knows little. Like his parents before him, theatre is his passion – a passion with emotional resonance, one that moves and excites him. He brings decades’ experience as an arts’ connoisseur to his role as a critic.
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