Filled with its myriad of trinkets, treasures, and curiosities, Presuming Ed’s lent itself beautifully to host Toddlingham’s resident granny turned detective, aligning eccentricity with intuition, and improv with suspicion. (No spoilers!)
I’ve said this before – Sunday afternoons draw a fascinating crowd. This particular audience was cheerful if chatty, a room full of comedy fans tuned into this whimsical, improv-driven show, keen for fresh laughs and an early night. We were welcomed into a cosy committee meeting by a sweet bearded woman clad in a sateen sapphire bodycon gown and a necktie, replete with cat eye specs, blue nail varnish, and a pink rosette pinned proudly to her bust. Leslie Bloom was as intriguing as she was beguiling, heading up the Toddlingham Neighbourhood Watch AGM, quickly turned “Toddle Watch: Murder Division”.
Before too long, we were introduced to an eclectic cast of characters all on suspicion of committing the hasty and heinous murder, allocating roles to willing members of the audience rearing to go. From Saffy Goodspeed and Doris Plimpton, to Ken Sponge and Brenda Rose, our fictional suspects were outlandish, known for their characterful plot points, kooky quirks, and remarkable ability to book Nick Knowles from DIY SOS for a private Toddlingham Watch demo.
Leslie kept a cool head in the face of raucous audience participation, playing out some new tracks to the tune of “Who, what, where, when, why, how … meow?”, and a 3 part cameo of Miss Marple, Columbo, and, of course, Sherlock Holmes. At times it felt almost pantomime-like, with a merry chorus of “aaaah” and “ooooh” echoing out in response to the various twists and turns of events. Leslie responded to the audience with humour and agility, giving us space to laugh, (and room to reflect our frankly questionable morals – how would you punish the guilty party?).
Leslie Bloom Solves a Murder was my final and favourite Fringe show this festival season. I highly recommend to any passing waifs, comedy strays, and Brighton locals, a lighthearted and quick-witted show led by the audience, and driven by our dear old friend Leslie Bloom.