Backstage Betrayal Review | The Scribbling Geek

Backstage Betrayal: A Crack The Case Mystery
Backstage Betrayal by Sight Lines Entertainment: A Crack The Case Mystery
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I embarrassed myself a little while waiting for Sight Lines Entertainment’s Backstage Betrayal to commence.

You see, there was this attractive, illuminated compilation of theatre posters right opposite the ticket collection counter. Many famous theatrical names were on this compilation. Hang on, I should say, every title displayed is an internationally famous production. The Mousetrap, The Merchant of Venice, 12 Angry Men, etc.

Being my usual bewildered self, I admired the display before approaching a theatre assistant. “Are these their previous or upcoming productions?” I asked. Their, referring to Sight Lines Entertainment.

The assistant looked surprised but quickly said something about the posters being productions of … … <something> <something>. I was confused but I couldn’t probe further for at that moment, some guy in a suit came to welcome the audience. I assume the man was director Krish Natarajan but no, he introduced himself as Gautham.

And then I realised, after a certain name was mentioned by Gautham. I dug out the paper ticket I was issued minutes ago and saw what I completely missed. I was issued a ticket for Macbeth. Not Backstage Betrayal. The aforementioned digital posters were for a “Strawlines Theatre Company.”

In the official online synopsis, the plot is described as the investigation following the mysterious death of the leading man of Strawlines Theatre Company during a performance of Macbeth

Strawlines Theatre Company
Dang, it was right before my eyes! And I completely missed it!

It finally dawned on me. My immersive theatre experience began the moment I entered the venue. I was dunked into the story without me even realizing it.

I don’t know whether Strawlines, I mean Sight Lines, would repeat this for all sessions of Backstage Betrayal; mine was the preview session. I certainly hope they do. It was not just fun, it was positively surreal.

An Amazing Interactive Experience That Makes You Believe You ARE in a Murder Investigation

Sight Lines Entertainment is, of course, also the creative force behind last year’s Crack the Case: Mind Hunter. It is thus impossible not to mention this earlier production when reviewing Backstage Betrayal. Not because both are similar immersive experiences but because they are so DIFFERENT. So surprisingly different.

Mind Hunter was a series of unnerving flashbacks and sets for you to witness before piecing together the clues; scenes that you can’t really be a part of. Backstage Betrayal has physical scenes for you to comb through, too, but in stark contrast, the bulk of the investigative experience involves the questioning of suspects. Despite the grim events, Backstage is decisively light-hearted too.

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You are sorted into groups. The groups then take turns speaking with each suspect. When I use the word “speaking,” I mean actual conversations and not just listening to soliloquies.

Every suspect has a lot to tell but all will also answer questions. Sometimes eagerly. Sometimes evasively or coldly. If you ask the right question, you might be rewarded with clues. But you never know. What seems like a clue could turn out to be a complete red herring …

Gautham Dadlani (Shrey Bhargava)
Gautham Dadlani (Shrey Bhargava), the suave and slick Artistic Director of Strawlines Theatre Company. A man who has given his all to his company.
Biwa Mastura in Backstage Betrayal: A Crack The Case Mystery
Stacy Fang (Biwa Mastura) is the managing director of Strawlines and she’s very upfront with information. But perhaps, a little too upfront …

It’s as interactive as it gets. It’s also an amazing experience because the actors playing the suspects are so incredibly convincing with their spontaneous responses. Darren Guo, who played the “Ah Beng-ish” suspect Gan Boon Tay immediately turned aggressive the moment someone from my group insinuated that he wasn’t letting on the whole truth. When I asked Shrey Bhargava’s Gautham Dadlani a barbed question of sorts, he countered with a snarky question that quickly silenced me. More than anything else, these moments complete the illusion of being in a murder investigation.

Darren Guo in Backstage Betrayal
Gan Boon Tay (Darren Guo) didn’t have nice things to share but I don’t know, I was very uninclined to suspect him. Maybe because he feels so relatable with his Singlish and NS references and all.
Cherilyn Su (Rebecca Ashley Dass) | Backstage Betrayal
Cherilyn Su (Rebecca Ashley Dass) plays the witch in Strawlines’ Macbeth and she’s cordial and softspoken. Visibly distressed when questioned too. Does that mean she can be trusted?

Mention must also be made of Jit Dastidar’s Maggie Mee Boy, or Detective Mee. Now, the ludicrous name says it all, this is a comical character. Many of his antics had the audience in stitches too. But in hindsight, I think Maggie Mee plays the important role of directing the flow of the investigation. Put it this way, without his comical antics, I doubt the mystery could be solved.

Detective Maggie Mee | Backstage Betrayal
By the way, the detective’s often hilarious involvement creates a different set of sleuthing activities to revel in. Activities that are as fun as they are deceptively challenging.

In short, an hour or so of immersive investigation just breezed past for me. Before I knew it, it was time for the big reveal. Damn, I so not wanted the investigation to end.

Backstage Betrayal Story and What to Expect If You’re “Investigating”

I can’t further share about the story without giving away spoilers, so I’ll instead say the following.

Are you familiar with the classic murder investigation Manga/Anime series, The Kindaichi Case Files?  Well, teenage detective Kindaichi always “walks” into a murder scene in his stories and that’s more or less what’s gonna happen to you during the Backstage Betrayal performance. Like Kindaichi’s rosters of suspects, the ones you question in Backstage Betrayal will all have all sorts of scandalous backstories and shadowy secrets too. You serious have to be on the constant lookout for lies and misdirections.

(Incidentally, one of the most famous Kindaichi stories happened in a theatre and that’s another reason why I enjoyed Backstage Betrayal so much. It’s like walking into an episode of my favourite Tantei Anime)

Physically, the venue, i.e., KC Arts Centre isn’t large but there are steps. Some parts of the investigation involve moving on and off the stage. Take note.

To enjoy the best of the investigation experience, you have to interact. You must interact. Not just with the suspects but also with other audiences. Naturally, the latter means Backstage Betrayal is perfect for experiencing with a group of friends.



Lastly, I find Backstage Betrayal much tougher than Mind Hunter! Good grief, my group’s deductions were completely off. Even the groups who identified the killer weren’t completely right. Let me just put it as that.

Light-hearted as it overall is, this latest Crack the Case mystery has its wicked challenges. You do have to be quite eagle-eyed and alert to catch all the crucial clues.


Backstage Betrayal is happening at KC Arts Centre from Apr 24 to May 11, 2024. Tickets begin at SGD 68/-. Tickets and further details here.


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Backstage Betrayal Review | The Scribbling Geek
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Backstage Betrayal Review | The Scribbling Geek
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Ever dreamed of investigating a scandalous murder mystery in a theatre? Sight Lines Entertainment’s Backstage Betrayal invites you to.
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