DEATH BY FATAL MURDER
by Peter Gordon.
Theatre Royal Theatre Square Nottingham NG1 5ND To 20 August 2011.
Mon-Fri 7.30pm Sat 8pm Mat Wed 2pm Sat 5pm.
Runs 2hr 15min One interval.
TICKETS: 0115 989 5555.
Review: Alan Geary 15 August.
Good fun as Inspector Pratt fails to solve another murder.
There’s a less than subtle clue in the title of this play. All murders seem to involve death somewhere along the line; what’s more, they’re usually fatal. So you might have deduced that this was going to be a spoof. Sure enough, spoof it is, a very funny one.
It isn’t as good as last year’s Murdered to Death, from the same writer, to which it’s a sequel. After the break the resolution, which seems to tumble out suddenly, is outlandishly involved, and it’s tangled up in a supernatural theme, which doesn’t sit comfortably in an Agatha Christie-type country house caper.
But it’s funny all the same. And you’re kept guessing till the end.
Loyal followers of Nottingham’s Thriller Season who think they’ve seen everything might be in for a surprise or two. Jo Castleton doesn’t do frocks in this one: instead she gets to play a horsey type with a raucous laugh and a formidable bosom, Ginny Farquhar. Actually, what with the jodhpurs and all, she looks rather fetching. And what’s more, Jeremy Lloyd Thomas, who’s Welsh, plays a female medium, also Welsh – there’s more than a splash of the Blithe Spirits about it.
Patric Kearns and Karen Henson bring back, respectively, Constable Thomkins and Miss Joan Maple. And, of course, Nick Briggs is Inspector Pratt, who continues to raise incompetence to hitherto undreamt-of levels. He stumbles into a spoonerism more than once but his chief accomplishment is his unwitting mastery of the malapropism. When he finds that Thomkins has something going with the lovely Mrs Allwright – it being 1940 and wartime there’s a shortage of manpower – he accuses her of having an “extra-terrestrial" affair with the constable.
Sarah Wynne Kordas is superb as Nancy Allwright. Her well-bred forbearance as she follows Pratt’s blunders, and the guilty looks as he sleuths about threatening but failing to solve the mystery are beautifully done – in an evening of strong performances Wynne Kordas’s might be the best.
Constable Atkins: Al Naed.
Nancy Allwright: Sarah Wynne Kordas.
Ginny Farquhar: Jo Castleton.
Constable Thomkins: Patric Kearns.
Inspector Pratt: Nicholas Briggs.
Miss Joan Maple: Karen Henson.
Blodwyn Morgan: Dolly May Jesterhom.
Enzo Garibaldi: John Hester.
Squadron Leader Roger (Stiffy) Allwright: Chris Sheridan.
Director: Adrian Lloyd-James.
Designer/Costume: Geoff Gilder.
Lighting: Michael Donoghue.
Sound: David Gilbrook.