Jammie Dodger is a twisting tale of intrigue and murder with a comic tone, and the message that crime definitely does not pay. Five characters try to extricate themselves from a jam-selling pyramid scheme by bumping each other off in an attempt to be the one left alive to abscond to America with their ill-gotten gains. Chaos naturally ensues as allegiances shift and knives change hands.
Beth and Deirdre have concocted a plan with their friend, Mary-Sue, to each kill their husbands so they can escape a life of crime and start fresh somewhere new. But things get complicated when only one murder goes to plan, and the surviving husbands start getting suspicious. The different layers of subtext are masterfully conveyed, as the audience is fully aware of what is going on, but the various characters have differing levels of knowledge.
My favourite aspect of the show is the way props and jokes are set up well in advance for a very funny and satisfying pay-off later on. This is also employed to great comic effect with one character suffering repeated blows to the head that result in him forgetting several times what is going on. There’s also a great use of strobe lighting to speed up a game of Cluedo.
All the performances tread just the right side of ridiculous, portraying comically heightened emotion and reactions but without tipping over into caricature. The plot does spiral a little out of control towards the end, with one character acting so far out of the realms of the rational as to lack credibility even within the confines of a comedy thriller. But the show pulls it back for a hilarious conclusion.
Laugh-out loud physical comedy and clever word-play make for a highly enjoyable show. Who knew jam could cause such trouble and create such entertainment?