Suspense, intrigue, twists, turns and a cast of talented actors among whom there is no weak link. What more can one ask of a new thriller which is currently touring the UK?
Written by the writers of Murder She Wrote, Richard Levinson and William Link (adapted for stage by David Rogers), directed by Ray Marsden, Rehearsal for Murder has a set that drew me in from the beginning and it inspired the ultimate experience for me as an audience member, I almost forgot that I was in the theatre! Instead, I felt like I was watching an all-consuming whodunit on television. This, I attribute to the polished, slick performances and exceptionally engaging writing.
Robert Daws plays Alex Dennison, a playwright who is setting up his own murder investigation exactly one year to the day after the opening night of his west end play. Moreover, it’s the anniversary of his fiancée, Monica Welles’s death, she was the star of his play and a well known movie star. Welles is played by actress, Amy Robbins and she brings glamour, heart and realism to the role. Dennison is the lynchpin of the piece and it can’t be an easy feat to effectively ‘carry’ the play with a tremendous amount of dialogue to go with it, however this challenge is one that Daws embraces and succeeds in. He gives an outstanding performance, backed up by the tenacious Susan Penhaligon as Producer, Bella Lamb, who provides a great deal of humour. Also, Steven Pinder who brings a delightfully edgy quality to the part of Lloyd Andrews, the Director together with brash leading man, David Matthews who is portrayed to marvellous effect by Robert Duncan, one feels there’s somewhat of a ‘tongue in cheek’ nuance utilised.
As the story swaps between scenes from 1989 (the present day that the play is set in) and 1988, the tale comes together like a well crafted jigsaw. The set encompasses the action, beautifully, while the audience are led well and truly up the garden path to draw the wrong conclusion! Or are we? With a bereft playwright playing detective, in the company of an anxious Director, jealous understudy and cock-sure leading man, the finger could point anywhere!
If you like a gripping whodunit, this is the production for you, and it will be in Malvern until Saturday 30 January – tickets are available here: http://www.malvern-theatres.co.uk or via box office number 01684 892277. Alternatively, Rehearsal For Murder will continue to tour around the UK afterwards, and you can find all dates and information here: http://www.kenwright.com/microsite/rehearsal-for-murder/
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