DIAL M FOR MURGATROYD
by Julian Harries and Pat Whymark.
Sir John Mills Theatre Gatacre Road Ipswich IP1 2LQ To 12 January.
Mon-Sat 7.45pm Mat Wed, Sat & 27 Dec 4.15pm 23 Dec 2.30pm.
then Seckford Theatre Burkitt Road Woodbridge IP12 4JH 15-26 January.
Mon-Sat 7.45pm Mat Wed 3.30pm Sat 4.15pm.
TICKETS: 01473 211498.
then Key Theatre Embankment Road Peterborough PE1 1EF 29 January-2 February 2013. 7.45pm Mat Thu & Sat 2.30pm.
TICKETS: 01733 207239.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 5 December.
Comedy laced with crime.
On dark winter nights, year after year, something murky stirs in a quiet Ipswich street, in a suburb not a million miles – barely, indeed, a half-mile – from the town’s bustling centre. The master-hand behind the deeds of murderous mirth can be revealed as none other than he who has this year climbed to the mighty seat of author, co-director and actor in Dial M for Murgatroyd; one by name: JULIAN HARRIES.
As mitigation it must be admitted Harries was not himself the instigator of Eastern Angles’ infernal plot to mangle annually a famous fictional detective, crime or thriller style. But the aptitude he immediately showed, as of one brought up for this very purpose, and the assiduity of his exertions in almost all recent years, can leave no doubt as to his utter involvement in the dramatic network known as: EASTERN ANGLES.
On the outside a respectable, Victorian municipal building; inside the scene reveals a bustling energy designed solely to release Harries’ concoctions among the public, at the Sir John Mills Theatre.
It is, no doubt, but another of Harries’ ploys, intended to mislead, that his title suggests Dial M for Murder author Frederick Knott is the source of this year’s plunder. But he’s not.
The intended victims turn out to be those elderly, innocent ladies, Dame Agatha Christie and her creation Jane Marple. Harries and melodious co-begetter Pat Whymark open with a breezy number summing-up ‘The Village’ where all occurs. And if the Jane who turns up to solve all looks like a man, there’s an explanation lined-up for that too.
In fact, Harries is so good at plotting fantastic turns under a cloak, or shawl, of apparent reality, it’s a shame he leaves plot tension gasping behind the aspidistra to focus on obvious humour and theatrical fakery, deft or daft (that actor fighting himself was being done by Low Moan Spectacular in the early seventies).
Generally, Harries gets his man, and woman, in the stalls. But he has it in him to write a genuine comedy-thriller, where humour enhances, rather than undermining, plot. If only he would.
Cast: Emma Finlay, Julian Harries, Deborah Hewitt, Patrick Marlowe,
Directors: Julian Harries, Pat Whymark.
Designer: Richard Evans.
Lighting: Steve Cooney.
Sound: Julian Harries, Penny Griffin.