As a fan of true crime and musicals I was ready to love this boisterous mash-up about a pair of misfits recording a murder podcast in their mum's garage.

Bronte Barbe's anxiety-ridden Kathy, and Rebekah Hinds' defensively-gobby Stella are firmly in the loser bracket until they get an inside track on a grisly murder when they become the last people to see their favourite author alive.

Cue a madcap romp complete with with morbid gags, severed heads, mortuary slabs, exasperated coppers, power hungry authors, and crazed Murder Con fans.

It's all good fun, but the comedy is too broad, the songs not sufficiently distinguished, and the crime solving of the title not nearly knotty enough to make it great.

The cast of Kathy and Stella Solve a MurderThe cast of Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder (Image: Pamela Raith)

Still there is plenty to like in Jon Brittain's script which tries to spoof the true crime genre while probing its allure - Kathy suggests it helps people have control over genuine threats. (the patriarchy gets name-checked).

Yet Stella and Kathy, who sign off with 'See You Next Murder,' still focus on glamorising local serial killer the Hull Decapitator while ignoring the faceless victims.

There are also lessons to be learned when Stella's hunger for validation from strangers threatens her IRL relationship with BFF Kathy - and the trust of her audience.

Barbe and Hinds have great chemistry as co-dependent schoolfriends who rescued each other from social siberia - revealing both Kathy and Stella's vulnerabilities, Northern grit and journey to self-acceptance.

And there's no denying the commitment and energy as a hard-working cast belt out Matthew Floyd Jones' songs at sometimes wearyingly full tilt.

Cecilia Carey creates a suitably grungy garage set complete with on-stage band, pinot grigio wine box, and illuminated murder map.

Hannah-Jane Fox has fun as a trio of over the top characters including true crime author Felicia Taylor who didn't mind sending an innocent man to jail for the sake of book sales.

A hit at Edinburgh, Kathy and Stella now joins other shows (Operation Mincemeat, Two Strangers) bringing a smaller-scale but cheerful energy to the West End.

Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder runs at The Ambassadors Theatre until September.