THE FINAL TWIST: Ken Whitmore and Alfred Bradley.
Theatre Royal: Tkts 0115 989 5555 www.royalcentre-nottingham.co.uk.
Runs: 1h 50m: one interval: till 25th August.
Performance times: 7.30pm weekdays and 8.00pm Sat (Matinees 2.00pm Weds and 5.00pm Sat).
Review: Alan Geary: 20th August 2012.
Derivative – but solidly good fun.
Nottingham’s Colin McIntyre Classic Thriller Season from Tabs Productions continues with a four-hander directed by Karen Henson.
Geoff Gilder’s set, a tastefully creamy cottage living room, is superb; background music is Mozart – even the doorbell plays a snatch from his Fortieth – augmented by modern, cool and murderous easy listening.
The play, blatantly derivative – think, for instance All About Murder from two years back – concerns the contrivance of a murder thriller deliberately intended to mirror closely the real life situation and personalities of the characters in the play we’re watching. But the make-believe thriller seems so near the bone that some of the characters wonder to what extent a real-life murder’s being set up.
Sir Merlin Foster (played by Adrian Lloyd-James), a vain and pompous classical actor in free fall, with a string of flops and ex-wives behind him, ropes in struggling playwright Charley Nicholson (Samuel Clemens) to come up with a plot involving wife murder.
Lloyd-James, bald in this one, is funny in his awfulness. Sarah Wynne Kordas, as horsey and fetching Scots wife Eden Dundee, is entirely engaging. Clemens’s performance as Nicholson, darkly down at heel, unshaven, and lacking in confidence, is excellent. The scenes between Clemens and Wynne Kordas are nicely done; there’s unspoken eroticism in the air
It’s all very meta-theatrical of course; and it’s localised for the Nottingham audience, which adds to the fun. Sir Merlin even makes scathing reference to some hapless minor theatre critic.
The Final Twist couldn’t ever be accused of being a great play, but it is most certainly solid entertainment and it offers a complete contrast to last week’s Frankenstein. True to title, there is indeed a, darkly enigmatic, twist at the end, as well as other twists before we get to it. But it isn’t simply these that make for an entertaining evening.
Sir Merlin Foster: Adrian Lloyd-James.
Charlie Nicholson: Samuel Clemens.
Eden Dundee: Sarah Wynne Kordas.
Morton Rifles: Daniel Manders-Joly.
Director: Karen Henson.
Set and Costume Designer: Geoff Gilder.
Lighting: Michael Donoghue.
Sound: David Gilbrook.
DSM: Angie Spencer.
ASM: Alison Wilcox.
Production Assistants: Al Naed, Sarah Dennis, Richard Sheridan.