ANYBODY FOR MURDER?: Clemens/Spooner, Theatre Royal Nottingham till 21st August

Nottingham.

ANYBODY FOR MURDER?: Brian Clemens and Dennis Spooner.
Theatre Royal: Tkts 0115 989 5555 www.royalcentre-nottingham.co.uk.
Runs: 2h 0m: one interval: till 21st August.
Performance times: 7.30pm weekdays, 5pm and 8pm Sat. (Matinee 2.00pm Weds).
Review: Alan Geary: 16th August 2010.

Dastardly doings on a Greek island.
We’re on an isolated Greek island for this week’s murder. It’s meant to be a converted farmhouse, but you wouldn’t want anyone clumping round it in muddy gumboots: it looks more like a holiday let.

A Max seems to crop up in every other thriller, and he’s usually a bad egg – it’s probably the Teutonic ring to the name. The Max in this one, energetically played by Patric Kearns, is indeed a nasty piece of work. A failed chemist, he’s frittered away the wife’s money on a dried-up vineyard so thoughts have, reasonably enough, turned to murder.

The plot, even for Thrillerland an unlikely one, nods a bit in the direction of Christie’s Evil Under the Sun. But it isn’t so much a whodunit as a will-he-get-away-with-it. And by the interval you’re also wondering whodunwhat. It’s also highly farcical: there are no vicars or dropping trousers but there are, for instance, the regulation five doors and they’re opening and closing all the time.

Like a lot of thriller season villains, Max seems inexplicably attractive to women. They’re here in the welcome shapes of wife Janet (Jo Castleton) and the other woman, Suzy (newcomer this season, Julia Binns).

Janet’s said to have a lisp but she hasn’t; it’s actually one of those Jonathan Woss-type speech impediments. Suzy spends a distressingly short time in a black, high-cut swimsuit – it’s not a frock fest this week – and a distressingly large amount of time getting drenched and being sprinkled with bits of broken pottery. It’s impossible to say quite why without giving the game away.

John Hester and Karen Henson are the Ticklewells, an avaricious couple in, given the hot weather, weirdly dated attire: she has a thick black dress and he’s sporting a waistcoat and double watch chain. Jeremy Lloyd-James plays, not for the first time surely, a nutty thriller writer who just happens to be on hand, partly to shadow proceedings, partly to cash in on a very unpredictable outcome.

It’s a lot of fun.

Max Harrington: Patric Kearns.
Janet Harrington: Jo Castleton.
Suzy Stevens: Julia Binns.
Edgar Chambers: Jeremy Lloyd Thomas.
Mary Ticklewell: Karen Henson.
George Ticklewell: John Hester.

Director: Adrian Lloyd-James.
Designer: Geoff Gilder.
Assisted by: Sarah Wynne Kordas.
Lighting Designer: Michael Donoghue.
Sound Designer: Patric Kearns.

2010-08-23 08:41:27

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