Nice Night For Murder!!

Not Dead Enough

Theatre Severn

Monday 8th- Saturday 13th May 2017

It is probably fair to say with the National Front almost seizing power today in the French election, our political climate with Brexit and a General election, Corbyn and May slogging it out and everything else, there is nothing like a good murder to calm you down.

If you were a Charlie Stubbs fan, before Tracey Barlow squished  his head in  with some tacky ornament, then this is the play for you. Really Bill Ward ( Charlie Stubbs in Corrie) is a Brighton detective. A detective: who not only having to deal with the disappearance of his own wife many years previous;  also has to see the population of Brighton slowly diminish one by one. Who is the killer? This is  Peter James’,  “Not Dead Enough”

Ward’s sidekick Michael Quartey added a lighter side as he has his own unhappy marriage to deal with as well as a totally unpredictable boss who seemed to leave him hanging  at all points, It quickly looks like it is all going to be down to DS Roy Grace to sort it all out and try to reach a reasonable dénouement that will leave us all happy on the way home.

Set in the cheery Brighton Mortuary and Brighton Police Station it was never going to be a laugh. Although there are some amusing lines dropped in to bring an element of reality about the script,they felt a little shoehorned in. James device is to introduce a little element of humanity to his script making the show all the better for it. Let’s face it a play where the majority of the action takes place in a mortuary is clearly going to be short on humour.  There is a humourous event near the start which will not be divulged  here, but mostly the text is sometimes a little bleak and mortuary- like throughout.

Chief Mortician Cleo Morey is played handsomely by Laura Whitmore and there is a happening, which again for the sake of ruining it were you to go the plot will not be divulged, however there is an incident where her life becomes endangered. What happens to her? Go and find out. One can expect a great performance from Ms. Whitmore. She delivered.

As did another Corrie bad boy Stephen Billington (AKA Corrie bad ‘un Greg Kelly) His performance calls for several skills of which he is more than able to deliver. He did and didn’t disappoint.

There were some very clever points of design in this show, for example the split level set. This allowed a police officers office, an interview room and a mortuary and the show  slipped between them  offering no problems as it moved forward, briskly and smoothly. One was even impressed with tension building sounds, one would expect them on a telly show but theatre isn’t telly, whilst using sound to build tension has always been done on stage one can suggest that maybe in the past not as effectively as this show manages.

On the negative one is bemused as to why director, Ian Talbot incorporated quite so many pointing movements. Mr. Ward would be delivering a line that might have a little bit of seriousness about it but he points so vehemently and inappropriately that one started to pity poor old Glenn Branson, Grace’s long suffering right hand man. The director's hand pushed a little heavy.

This is a good play offering up a well-rehearsed and impressive cast. It has its appropriate share of Red Herrings and although this critic guessed whodunit (well nearly!) it may well be advisable to pop along to Theatre Severn this week and try and beat DS Grace as you solve the mystery yourself. It would be interesting to know the percentage of who never guessed at all, who half guessed and who was right all along. I should think that would be a difficult statistic to collect as the audience was just too big. Clearly things are going well!

This Is a Four Star Review

Owen J Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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