Apple juice. Lucozade. Fancy house parties with canapes. Less fancy house parties with amorous activities. A missing necklace and a one night stand. Not the ingredients you’d expect to spark an amateur murder investigation, but this is the journey Tumulus takes us on.
Drawing this all together is our unreliable narrator, Anthony, clearly battling demons of his own. We are intrigued as he becomes convinced that the man he had slept with, but did not have feelings for, did not take an overdose but was murdered. He takes it upon himself to solve this mystery as a humorous, self-aware sleuth Sherlock Holmes complete with a hat, trench coat, therapist and an addiction.
The strength of Tumulus is in it’s compelling story, brought to life by an incredible cast. Props, technology, physical theatre and the power of ensemble bring nuance in the different worlds and characters Anthony encounters in London to life. Humour carries us through the story along with repeated settings, motifs and physicality. These elements are also blended together to draw out suspense among the audience. We are left hanging onto the edge of our seats in several unexpected turns, unsure if are witnessing reality, the world of a drug fuelled trip or the breakdown in a mans sanity. We repeatedly question our protagonists’ honesty and moral centre and it speaks volumes on the production that this only serves to draw us further into the story.
The script expertly layers both character development and plot points with social issues. This is done subtlety and successfully. You will leave the theatre realising that the #metoo movement has thus far widely stepped over many members of the LGBTQIA community including gay men. Tumulus leaves you wondering why and when some of those conversations will start.