Stepping into the White Bear Theatre, for The Midnight Snack from comic ensemble Other Mysteries, I was exhausted. My plus one had bailed on me, and I momentarily wondered if I’d be happier if I’d just stayed at home. Luckily for me, from its first false start this production is a sixty-minute whirlwind of chaotic hilarity that left me more than glad I’d ventured out on that cold Thursday night.
With a cast of three actors (plus the characterful voice of Benson MacAllister) madly playing twelve (yes, twelve!!!) roles between them, The Midnight Snack serves up the perfect mix of absurdity and suspense. Drolly led by Jonah Walsh as Harry Veritas, this podcast turned immersive experience turned stage show darts from suspect to suspect and motive to motive before culminating in a high-energy whodunnit reveal, impressively performed by Carolyn Hartvigsen and Mackenzie Larsen. Together the three performers expertly bring this wacky world of food trucks, baking, podcasting, suspicion, and murder to life. One thing’s for sure, director Candice MacAllister certainly demands a lot of her cast, and it is a thrill to watch them rise to the challenge.
Recognition is also due for the team’s achievement in drawing together such an engaging production on what is bound to have been a very tight budget. Many bigger shows have done far less with far more so it is incredibly refreshing to see so little being utilised so well. For starters, Holly Gould’s simple, yet enormously effective, lighting design seamlessly complements the production’s slapstick style, while the stripped-down set adds another unexpected, but very welcome, layer of comedy. Meanwhile, Hartvigsen and Larsen surprise and impress as multi-rolers, skilfully turning simple costume add-ons into fully developed characters who often feel like they’re about to literally jump off the stage. Indeed, it’s a bold (although admittedly very cost-effective) choice to have two actors take on so many roles and although a lesser director may have shied away from making such a decision, MacAllister seems to fully embrace the task. The result is a resounding success that feels simultaneously nostalgic and fresh.
As an ensemble the Other Mysteries team is creative and compelling, and I certainly hope we’ll see a lot more of them as they continue to grow and produce more work. So, if you find yourself craving some comedy, are in need of more than a few good laughs, or are simply just bored with sixty-minutes to kill, do yourself a favour and go see this show. Or, if you’ve missed it this time, why not grab your headphones and settle into the original podcast?
Written & Created by Other Mysteries, based on the original podcast.
Directed by: Candice MacAllister
Lighting & Technical by: Holly Gould
The Midnight Snack has completed its current run at White Bear Theatre until 3 December.
You can listen to The Midnight Snack podcast on all the usual platforms, search for “The Midnight Snack and Other Mysteries” or follow the team on Instagram @themidnightsnack_podcast and Twitter @TheMidnightSna3 to follow them as they (hopefully!) head to Edinburgh Fringe in 2023.