steven avery | 

Musical based on Netflix doc Making A Murderer premieres at Edinburgh Fringe Festival

One critic has slammed the show as “icky” and “disrespectful.”

Making a Murderer - Netflix

Steven Avery | Pic: The Innocence Project

Brendan Dassey

Teresa Halbach

Clodagh MeaneySunday World

A musical based on the Netflix documentary Making a Murderer has premiered at Edinburgh Fringe Festival

The BAFTA award-winning writer of ‘Making a Murderer: The Musical’, Phil Mealey, said he was inspired by the docu-series to write the show.

“When I watched the documentary, like many others I was outraged at the way the system seemed stacked against Steven and his nephew Brendan,” said Mealey.

“As a writer I saw so many astonishing twists and turns and intriguing characters that if this were written as an original story no-one would believe it was plausible.”

“Our intention is to highlight and parody the inconsistencies in the case where people with power have not used that power fairly or effectively. Compassion and empathy must extend to all those who are victims of a flawed system so that they receive the justice that they truly deserve.”

Steven Avery | Pic: The Innocence Project

A spokesperson for the show told Variety: “The production of ‘Making a Murderer: The Musical’ is not based on the Netflix documentary of the same name but is based on the real-life events that took place during the trials of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey.”

“The writers have taken public material as a basis for the production with a new take and story elements to the trial and lives of those wrongly put behind bars.”

After the show premiered at Fringe, one critic slammed it as “icky” and “disrespectful.”

“The songs are well written and catchy but after Avery is released from prison, the show takes a bit of a turn,” a review by Natalie O'Donoghue for Broadway World wrote.

“Avery is arrested again for murder and a projection of his alleged victim Teresa Halbach is the backdrop to another song. It's a true story and this tribute feels a little icky as the tone doesn't quite manage to shift from wacky comedy to sincere.”

In conclusion, she writes: “Somewhat of a mixed bag as the musical is well written but the subject matter feels uncomfortable and at times, disrespectful.”

The show follows the story of Steven Avery, who in 2007 was convicted of the murder of Teresa Halbach in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin.

Teresa Halbach

Halbach, who was a photographer for Auto Trader, vanished on October 31st 2005 after visiting Avery Auto Salvage to take pictures of a minivan he wanted to sell on the online marketplace.

Her car was found hidden among other cars on the lot. Her remains were later found charred in a burn pit near Avery’s home.

Steven was arrested and charged with kidnap, sexual assault, murder and mutilation of a corpse.

Brendan Dassey

The following year his nephew, Brendan Dassey was charged as an accessory after he confessed that he helped to kill the 25-year-old and dispose of her body.

He later recanted his statement, saying he was coerced into giving a false confession but was convicted of rape, murder, and mutilation of the corpse in a separate trial.

At the time of his arrest, Steven Avery was suing Manitowoc County, former sheriff, Thomas Kocourek, former district attorney, Denis Vogel for $36 million dollars after he was wrongfully convicted of rape and the attempted murder a woman in July 1985.

DNA evidence found Avery was not the perpetrator and he was exonerated after spending 18 years behind bars.

The Netflix documentary series on Avery was first released in 2015 with a second season being released in 2018.

The show looked at Avery’s life and convictions, his appeals and possible evidence that could point to his innocence.

They also looked at Brendan Dassey’s conviction and his attempts at overturning his conviction.

Both Avery and Dassey remain in prison despite numerous appeals.

Making a Murderer: The Musical, runs at Underbelly, Edinburgh until August 29th.

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