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The Mystery of Edwin Drood


Audiences at the Cotswold Playhouse get the chance to play detective this week and decide for themselves how a famous murder mystery ends, writes Nick Brunger.

But it has meant some tricky rehearsals for the cast who have to prepare themselves for literally hundreds of possible conclusions.

“The Mystery of Edwin Drood” is a musical re-imagining of Charles Dickens’ final novel which was left only partially written when he died in 1870.

Over the years many famous authors have attempted to provide an ending of their own but no-one has yet come up with a definitive answer to the puzzle.

Director Simon Moss estimates that there are around 630 possible endings to the show which will be decided by an audience vote before the curtain comes down.

“The musical is also unique in that the audience themselves get the chance to vote on the ending and unmask the killer,” says Simon.

“However, budding Miss Marples and Inspector Morses can rest assured that whatever their sleuthing skills they simply cannot go wrong as the cast has rehearsed all the possible solutions to the puzzle so that every one of the  seven performances will end perfectly whatever they conclude.”

“The Mystery of Edwin Drood” is an award-winning musical adaptation of the story that places the action on the stage of the Victorian Musical Hall Royale where a troupe of performers flesh out key characters and scenes from the story.

Blending traditional pantomime antics with song-and-dance, cross dressing, and exotic settings the show also celebrates all the verve and excitement of the traditional British music hall including a famous stage illusion from the past.

Director Simon Moss said: “We are attempting to recreate an old music hall trick.  For a short sequence the audience wears coloured specs and the action happening live on stage will literally bounce out into the auditorium. It’s a rare 3-D effect, probably being presented for the first ever time in Stroud.”

The Mystery of Edwin Drood is being performed at the Cotswold Playhouse from Thursday 8th to Saturday 10th, and Wednesday 14th to Saturday 17th June 2023.  All tickets are priced at £15.

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