MURDEROUS LIAISONS: Clemens, at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham till 3rd September


Theatre Royal: Tkts 0115 989 5555
Runs: 1h 50m: one interval: till 3rd September.
Performance times: 7.30pm weekdays and 8.00pm Sat (Matinees 2.00pm Weds and Thurs 5.00pm Sat).
Review: Alan Geary: 30th August 2011.

Highly entertaining – and leggy – evening.
By way of a complete contrast to the rest of Nottingham’s Thriller Season plays – actually they’ve all been very different – the fourth and last is a three-hander set in Spain. We’re in Eldoradoland, in one of those modern but uncomfortable-looking pads you get in geezer-type thrillers, angular furniture and no books.

Suzy lives there with husband Alex. While he’s out on some shady business she brings home a pick-up, young Larry, apparently for sex. But it soon transpires that she wants to get him on side to have Alex wiped out.

What follows keeps you guessing. Is Suzie genuinely in cahoots with Larry against Alex, or are Larry and Alex engaged in anti-Suzy skulduggery? At one point in proceedings the separatist terror organisation ETA also seems to put in an appearance.

From her first entrance right at the start, in high heels and a short New Romantic white number – it’s not just the clothes; the absence of mobiles also tells us that this is the late-eighties – Jo Castleton, as brassily desirable Suzy, is on top form. Castleton gets to wear a succession of pleasing outfits; considering that there’s only one woman in the play there are an awful lot of legs about.

Sam Clemens, son of the playwright Brian Clemens, is a superb Larry, who’s really Dutch Holland, a criminal expatriate chancer with an estuary accent. Jeremy Lloyd Thomas is Alex, with a London twang and complete absence of morals – no one in this play appears to have paid attention at Sunday School.

Here and there the dialogue seems to wander a bit; it could do with a tightening up. But after the interval there are new and unexpected layers of gamesmanship to keep you guessing to the end.

Directed by Karen Henson – her welcome directorial debut in a Thriller Season – this makes a non-profound but highly entertaining evening.

Suzy: Jo Castleton.
Larry: Sam Clemens.
Alex: Jeremy Lloyd Thomas.

Director: Karen Henson.
Set and Costume Designer: Geoff Gilder.
Lighting: Michael Donoghue.
Sound Designer: David Gilbrook.

2011-09-15 10:42:47

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