Everyone loves a good mystery right? Especially children when they see kids just like themselves setting out to solve it. A successful writer for children, Nathan Bryon has tapped in to exactly how to make a staged mystery come to life for young audiences with Dexter and Winter’s Detective Agency.
It feels like everything is going great for Dexter and best friend Winter, Dexter’s Mum has just taken them to Thorpe Park for the day, and according to the news on the radio the jewel thieves have all been caught and it’s only the getaway driver who’s on the run.
But everyone is in for a shock when Dexter’s Mum is arrested and sent to prison. Dexter has to live with Winter, but he’s convinced of his Mum’s innocence and so the pair become detectives ready to solve the mystery of who the getaway driver really was.
This allows for the pair to set off on a madcap adventure interviewing lots of different witnesses and suspects. Charlotte Bate, who initially played Dexter’s Mum now has the unenviable task of playing every single other character in the play, of course it’s very funny and the children just adore all the different costumes and voices.
Dexter and Winter’s Detective Agency is squarely aimed at the youth of today, ‘but we want to listen to Stormzy’ whine the detective duo, while giving each other hip-hop inspired secret handshakes. It is loud bright and absolutely bursting with energy. Toyin Omari-Kinch is a delightful Dexter and the young audience fall in love with him immediately, and will almost certainly identify with a few of his traits. Charlotte O’Leary as Winter is equally as engaging and acts as an alternative viewpoint for Dexter.
As well as being a whole lot of fun, the mystery is actually really good and even the adults in the audience find themselves being sucked in to trying to solve the crime. What really stands out about Dexter and Winter’s Detective Agency is that it very subtly teaches its young audience some important life lessons, and never sugar-coats the situation. We learn that not everyone is as innocent as they first seem, and that forgiveness is an important trait to adopt. At the end, as the excited children fist-pumped all the characters, I wiped away a little tear – surprisingly moved by the moral of the story.
Main Image: by Rebecca Need Menear