‘A priest … a murder, a crime scene set in an insane asylum and a young woman wrongly accused of murder or desperately in need of help?’
Interactive murder-mystery theatre doesn’t come more compelling than Female of the Species, a locally produced play performed in a secret location in the quiet backstreets of Balmain.
The creation of talented production company Dark Stories, the team behind True Crime Tours in Sydney, Female of the Species is theatre with a difference. The follow up to 2018’s Confessions of a Serial Killer, it commences at the doorstep of a neat heritage cottage posing as an insane asylum. The audience is ushered by the tentative Father Dante into the visitors’ room where a murder was committed by one of the inmates. Here, we are introduced to inmates Ivan, Felicity and Purity, who all have motives and who have agreed to a covenant that allows interaction with visitors who mull over clues and who ultimately play judge and jury after asking the inevitable – ‘is the female of the species more deadly than the male?’
The Dark Stories team has produced a unique cultural event that is engaging and highly entertaining despite its dark themes. Not a seat in sight, participants are kept on their toes (literally) and shepherded from room to room of the dimly lit, sparsely furnished asylum as they piece together the puzzle of this captivating murder-mystery. If you like your humour black and your theatre cryptic and mobile, then Female of the Species is for you. The ending is a killer. Pun intended.
Female of the Species has limited sessions between 5 and 7 July.
Words: Maria Zarro