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Who Killed Santa Claus?

It’s been a while since I’ve been to the theatre, and I certainly don’t intend to go there over the Christmas season, when all that’ll be on is The Panto. Not my cup of tea at all. The actors for that are already in town, and the principals (some minor stars from children’s TV) turned on the Christmas Lights last weekend – I didn’t go to that either. But before the inevitable Panto Season, the theatre’s got on a festive whodunnit, Who Killed Santa Claus? I thought it would be worth a look, so this morning I booked myself a standby ticket to this afternoon’s matinĂ©e.

It was written by Terence Feely, who wrote screenplays for classic TV shows such as The Avengers, The Prisoner, and The Gentle Touch. So, unsurprisingly, it was set in the world of television in the early 1970s. Barbara Love is a TV presenter of a very successful children’s show. As usual, she hosts a party on Christmas Eve, and invites her colleagues from her show – the producer, director, make-up artist, writer, secretary. But immediately before the party she receives coffin as a present, and death threats on her answerphone. It soon becomes clear that all of her colleagues have a good reason to want her dead.

It’s not so much a whodunnit, more a who-is-going-to-do-it, as you wait for the murder to happen and try to second-guess the multiple plot twists. I reckon I spotted one genuine hole in the plot, and guessed two of the major twists well before the denouement, but then I’ve read a lot of murder mysteries and this one was pretty formulaic. It was fun to watch though, and the ghastly ’70’s fashions were very entertaining in a cringe-making way. I thought it was well worth a tenner for a standby seat.