12-17 September 2016
Reviewed by Linda Pickford
Rehearsal for Murder is a play within a play and if you like a good who done it then this is for you. Written by Richard Levinson and William Link, who also brought us Murder She Wrote, the audience is invited to work out the killer. It’s not an easy solution, its seems that every few minutes you are encouraged to look at another potential murderer.
The story is that playwright Alex Dennison (Alex Ferns) has written a new play and invited various actors and crew along to a theatre for a read through. It turns out that everyone was at the same place exactly a year ago when his fiancée and leading lady Monica Welles (Susie Amy) committed suicide on opening night of her stage debut. As the read through progresses it becomes apparent that the script is a thinly disguised re-enactment of Monica’s death. The participants become extremely uneasy and try to leave but they are persuaded by threats to stay and complete the roles allocated to them.
Despite being a Bill Kenwright production with direction by Roy Marsden (of Inspector Dalgliesh fame) I was frankly disappointed with the overall performance. The lighting seemed a little off and I was very conscious of the other people in the audience the whole time. Alex Ferns as the playwright was a times shouting into the audience but also turning his back to us while speaking which was difficult to hear. The cast, including some extremely well-known actors as Gary Mavers playing Lloyd Andrews and Mark Wynter as David Matthews the ageing leading lothario never seemed to grow together. It was almost as if they were standing or sometimes sitting in a line waiting for their turn to speak. Anita Harris taking the part of Bella Harris, the backer, did bring a much needed spark of class to the whole proceedings.
If you like a good murder mystery, then go along to the Princess Theatre at Torquay and see if you can work out “Who Did It”. As a long-time fan Agatha Christie and the like, I enjoyed working through all the suspects and did pick up a few clues on the way but I didn’t get the real culprit. So give it a go yourself and see what you think.
Tickets cost from £13.90 to £38.90 (plus £4 transaction fee).
Rehearsal for Murder is at the Princess Theatre in Torquay until 17 September 2016. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 871 3023.
Princess Theatre, Torbay Road, Torquay, TQ2 5EZ | 0844 871 3023