Imagine a curious hybrid between Agatha Christie and Tennessee Williams, add a seductive touch of salsa and you have the musical Murderous Instincts in a nutshell.
In a contemporary Puerto Rican household the adult children of the Buckingham family are summoned to a meeting arranged by their mother in the aftermath of her husband's recent demise. Each has a secret they prefer to conceal, the show's title a reference to the sublimated family tensions that can rise to the surface with potentially disastrous consequences.
The house presided over by retired singer Edwina (Nichola McAuliffe well-cast as the matriarchal diva) is an intimidating mansion which brings out the worst in everyone and over the course of the next day, a series of over-heated revelations jostle for attention as adultery, mistaken identity, gay affairs and even possible murder feature in a veritable smorgasbord of family mayhem. You name it, it's somehow squeezed in. And in the midst of all this pulsates an enjoyable salsa soundtrack that features the considerable talents of Jhesus Aponte and Janet Fuentes Torres leading a company of dancers.
As long as you accept the overblown central premise and enjoy its good-natured spoof of every murder mystery you've ever seen then there's certainly quite a bit to enjoy in this lightweight musical, though the cast's talents clearly surpass the flimsy nature of the material itself, the show's credits lying with the vocal talents and dancing ability of the ensemble, one of whom, Jonathan D Ellis gives great entertainment value as the camp Miguel.
What other critics had to say.....
PAUL TAYLOR for THE INDEPENDENT says,"Knock back a few mojitos first and you could end up having a ball. "SAM MARLOWE for THE TIMES says, "It's crude, predictable, and not sufficiently melodramatic or daft to entertain even in the most superficial way." LYN GARDNER for THE OBSERVER says, "Thoughts turn not to murder but to suicide during this misbegotten musical ." KIERON QUIRKE for TIME OUT says, "Thi sterrible show makes for strangely easy viewing." PETER HEPPLE for THE STAGE says, "It is a case of predictability meeting banality."