Review: All That Glisters, Guildford Shakespeare Company

‘Darlings’ is the motto of today’s muster mystery show All that Glisters. Written by Eleanor Murton and performed by the Guildford Shakespeare Company, it is an interactive, immersive spectacle hosted on Zoom. 

‘Darlings’, we are greeted by Solanio (Sarah Gobran) who immediately makes us feel as glam as some of us look – it’s the 80s, everything is about the colours and the perms, and we are invited to the red carpet. However, the occasion is not as fancy as it sounds because it is not a star studded film premiere or cocktail party – it is a memorial. We are mourning the death of Leonato ‘Monty’ Montague and his family and friends have gathered to say one last goodbye. 

Of course, these things never go to plan and the plot quickly thickens. Someone is sending threatening messages uncovering that Monty’s death was in fact not a suicide but that he died under suspicious circumstances. And so, the murder mystery begins. Over the course of the next one and a half hours we get to meet Monty’s widow Portia (Natasha Rickman), his only son Edmund (Matt Pinches), their lawyer Angie (Eli Murton) and a friend of the family, artist Jacques Amoree (Daniel Abbott). In breakout rooms we get to question and investigate with a few fellow audience members, what really occurred on that fateful night in Monaco.

Unfortunately, what the actors provide in enthusiasm is lacking in the plot. In this particular story it unfortunately did not take a lot of analysing to figure out who might have done it and why. Although there are new plot twists to discover here and there, it is not as much of a ‘mystery’ as the genre suggests. 

Equipped with a notebook and prepared to ask the right questions it can be entertaining to play Sherlock Holmes for a bit but, a game of Cluedo creates a similar excitement.

Admittedly, it is the 80s and everything is over the top anyways but, maybe that is what makes it hard to identify with the characters. I want to root for someone, I want to be on someone’s side – hoping it wasn’t them; and perhaps this is partially impacted by the fact that we are watching these performances through a square-shaped screen and technical issues and people speaking over each other constantly pull us back into reality. But a faster pace, and a thicker plot would solve that issue and would have me at the edge of my seat.

And so, it only goes to say: All That Glisters is not gold. 

All That Glisters is playing online until 3rd July 2020. For more information and tickets visit the Guildford Shakespeare Company website.