A wheel murder mystery

Last updated 14:55 21/02/2013

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Fringe Festival is in full swing and reporter AMY JACKMAN checked out WindyPAE's show Wheels of Justice.

Councillor Frank Middlemore is killed in mysterious circumstances and the Fringe Festival's cops on bikes are on the case.

The twice-weekly murder-mystery cycle tour of Wellington is one of the highlights of this year's Fringe Festival.

Wheels of Justice started at Bike Barn in Wakefield St.

Audience members were kitted out with a bike, or could bring their own, and told they would be cycling along with detectives in a new police initiative.

Just as we were about to head out the news came in about Mr Middlemore's death and that the cops on bikes team was the closest to the scene.

The next 90 minutes were fantastic.

After a scene examination, a run-in with the crazy Freddie and the first clue, the audience was split into three groups to head off to their ride-along locations.

However, the detectives - McIntosh, played by Kenneth Gaffney, Jones, played by Fran Olds, and Barlow, played by Tommy Truss - decided that investigating a murder was better than a boring patrol of the waterfront. So we were soon cycling around Wellington on the trail of a killer.

The audience helped their detective interview Sammy the prostitute (Wimmy Wimmy), ex-drug addict Indigo (Alice Pearce), car park owner Winslow (Adam Simpson), cycling advocate Spike (Rebecca Parker), car park owner Cassie Champion (Tess Jamieson-Karaha) and drug addict Freddie (Thomas Pepperell).

The play ended at a meeting at the Southern Cross in Abel Smith St, where the killer was revealed.

The Southern Cross provides some great platters, because cycling around town catching killers is hungry work.

The play presented by the windy performing arts ensemble (WindyPAE) is the brainchild of Truss, Jamieson- Karaha, Parker and Aidan Weekes. It took five months to create.

Truss said the play was mainly improvised, but some points remained the same every time.

"Some of it depends on the audience," he said.

"On Sunday we had this raucous group. They had so many comments about what was going on. The other groups were a bit less like that, but warmed up when they saw the other group interacting more.

"It's good for the actors as well. Some of them get three chances to do a scene and the detectives have the different dynamics of the groups to contend with."

Truss had always wanted to do a play on bikes.

"When I moved to Wellington I thought, 'There are a lot of fun nooks and crannies here', and then Fringe came along, so it seemed like the best place to do it."

Wheels of Justice, The Bike Barn, Wakefield St, February 23, 24, March 2, 3 and 9, 2pm, $15. Email windypae@gmail.com for tickets. Audience members are encouraged to turn up before 2pm so the show can leave on time. See wellingtonian.co.nz for photo gallery of the murder investigation.

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- The Wellingtonian

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