Daniel Nicholas on Art To Die For

Comedian Daniel Nicholas returns with a new show Art to Die For at A Pinch of VAULT. Nicholas has spent the last year reading Agatha Christie, Japanese locked room mysteries and thinking about Daniel Craig’s accent in Knives out and now this research has come together in this interactive and hilarious murder mystery show where you help find the one ‘whodunit’.

The work-in-progress show is written and performed by Nicholas with writing and tech by Sarah Edwards. Nicholas’s previous work was the Arts Council Funded, digitally interactive, deaf accessible comedy/theatre show “Eugene” which toured across the UK in 2022 and which received the Pleasance & York Theatre Royal national partnership award for Edinburgh Fringe in 2021.

Ahead of opening, we got an insight on what inspired the show and whether he is yet to crack Craig’s accent.

Q&A with Daniel Nicholas

What can you tell us about your show Art to Die For?

It’s an interactive one man murder mystery show. There’s been a murder at a new exhibition launch in the countryside town of Mayfield – the Gallery owner has been found dead in a room that’s locked from the inside. The audience joins detective Danny Nix’ to interview each of the suspects and compete in games to get clues to solve the murder. It’s a lot of fun and hopefully an Agtha Christie meets Taskmaster kind of vibe.

What was the inspiration from the show?

Very much the kind of classic British murder mysteries like Agatha Christie, with eccentric characters and a madcap detective, but i’ve also been reading a lot of Japanese locked room murders (or the video game series Phoenix Wright), and love the idea of a murder happening which looks technically impossible but once you dig into it a bit further there clues are all there. I’m not sure the mystery is as complicated as that – but then it’s only an hour long show!

Have you figured out Daniel Craig’s accent in Knives Out yet?

Has anyone? But I think ‘Danny Nix’ has one to rival it.

How have you approached the interactive elements of the show?

A lot of my work in comedy is around audience interaction, games and having fun, really leaning into the live experience. The audience will be split into two teams, with each character will only give out a clue after playing a game with the audience, these range from pictionary to pretending to be a sculpture. It’s silly and fun, and there’s space at the end of for teams, people who may have never met before, to work together to try and solve the murder. I want it to be an enjoyable collective experience where we may come in as strangers but leave as friends.

What can we expect beyond A Pinch of VAULT?

I’ve got a few more festival appearances this year, including Cambridge Fringe festival, and as the show is still in development I’m looking for more performance opportunties, then perhaps in 2025 a small tour and Fringe, before thinking about the next show – an interactive Ghost story maybe?!

Daniel Nicholas: Art to Die For is at Sino Thai on 29 February 2024