benedict-cumberbatch-leads-the-ludicrously-starry-guest-cast-of-new-comedy-play-‘whodunnit-3’

Benedict Cumberbatch leads the ludicrously starry guest cast of new comedy play ‘Whodunnit 3’

Finsbury Park’s cunningly-named Park Theatre seems to be endlessly beloved by London’s not-inconsiderable celebrity population, who tend to support the modestly-sized theatre with an intensity somewhat out of whack with its size. 

Perhaps it’s simply that the Park lies in easy walking distance of many of their houses. Or maybe they just really love taking a turn in low-commitment comedy murder mystery plays.

Co-written and directed by Park artistic director Jez Bond, the original ‘Whodunnit [Unrehearsed]’ was a spoof Agatha Christie-style procedural in which the lead inspector character was played by a different star actor each night, with no need to rehearse: their lines are fed to them via an earpiece. ‘Whodunnit [Unrehearsed] 2’ duly followed, with a new storyline relocating the action to a boat. And now there’s ‘Whodunnit [Unrehearsed] 3’, which sets things on a murder-plagued train.

The line-ups have always been impressive, but this year one Benedict Cumberbatch joins the cast for one night only, in what is technically his first – admittedly brief – stage role since ‘Hamlet’ in 2015. Good luck seeing him, though: it’s strictly one sleb per show, with no repeat performances, and the identity of the night’s celebrity is only revealed at curtain up. 

Still, fret not: Cumberbatch might be the biggest box office here but it’s a damned impressive line-up overall that sees newcomers like Beverley Knight, Adrian Lester and Jodie Whittaker join returnees like Gillian Anderson and Daisy Ridley.

The complete list of other performers (to date) is Clive Anderson, David Baddiel, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Marcus Brigstocke, Brian Cox, Simon Callow, Michelle Collins, Nina Conti, Victoria Coren Mitchell, Les Dennis, Adrian Dunbar, Mark Gatiss, Tamsin Greig, David Haig, Harry Hill, Adam Hills, Ronan Keating, Ross Kemp, Maureen Lipman, Gareth Malone, Jason Manford, Stephen Mangan, Tim McInnerny, David Mitchell, Neil Morrissey, Eddie Nestor, Sue Perkins, Clarke Peters, Rob Rinder, Meera Syal, Tony Robinson, Catherine Tate, Sandi Toksvig, Johnny Vegas, Tim Vine, Greg Wise, Amanda Abbington, Asim Chaudhry and Christopher Biggins.

Tickets cost a not-cheap £57.50-£99.50, but it should be noted the show is a fundraiser to secure the theatre’s future. If that’s a bit pricey, £15 standing tickets to that evening’s performance are released each day.

‘Whodunnit [Unrehearsed] 3’ is at Park Theatre Mar 27-May 4. Buy tickets here.

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