Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Strictly Murder Review Mark Moraghan Devonshire Park Theatre Eastbourne 10th June 2009

Strictly Murder
Devonshire Park Theatre
9th-13th June 2009
Performance seen
Wednesday, June 10th

Strictly Murder starring Mark Moraghan
Cast (Appearance Order)

Josef : David Rumelle
Peter Meredith : Nick Barclay
Suzy Hinchcliffe : Katy Funk
Ross : Mark Moraghan
Miriam Miller : Jasmine Darke

This thrilling murder mystery takes place in a rustic cottage in a valley in Provence, France, at the start of the World war II.

Mark Moraghan stars as Ross in Strictly MurderMark Moraghan, former star of The Bill, Heartbeat, Where The Heart is (and many more), is the more well known "headline celebrity" in this intense drama.

But when it comes down to delivery of performance all 5 stars are on an equal footing.

Take Katie Funk, for example. Only last year we had watched her play multiple roles in the stage comedy farce, Affairs In a Tent, in which she was hilarious. But here we are just a few months on and she has switched to what must be an emotionally draining role as Suzy Hinchcliffe. It's a stunning performace as she endeavours to find out why partner Peter Meredith (Nick Barclay) just will not commit to marriage.

Barclay has a massive list of theatre credits, not just in the UK. Whilst he has done the odd comedy his long theatrical career history does seem to sway more towards the more serious dramas and murder mysteries. Even in Panto he seems to be snapped up quickly to play the villain.

But is he the villain in this? Well the only way to find out is to go and see it.

Katie Funk stars as Suzy Hinchcliffe in Strictly MurderBut see it you should as it is one of those mysteries that no matter what theory you have about the actual outcome you will more than likely be wrong. Just 5 actors delivering a story by Brian Clemens that has more twists and turns than Spaghetti Junction!

I feel some on-line reviews of this have given a little too much of the plot away in talking about Moraghan's character Ross. I enjoy plays more when I know nothing about the story so I'll just restrict it to saying he is superbly cast in this play and that his character is central to the plot. And believe me that gives away nothing!

Two final cast members remain to mention - David Rumelle and Jasmine Darke.

David plays Josef - a somewhat strange, tramp-like, sometimes dark yet often comical, character who lives near to Peter and Suzy. Josef doesn't say much - but he doesn't need to - Josef is a character who tells his story in actions rather than words and Rumelle excels playing this character.

As with the character of Ross I won't go into too much detail of Miriam Miller played by Jasmine Darke.

Darke doesn't have to appear on stage until the latter part of the second act and together with her fellow actors she brings the play to a very satisfying,unexpected, conclusion.

The key to the success of this superb Bruce James production is probably the fact that the mystery starts at curtain-up in Act 1 and it has the ability to keep you gripped and guessing to the very end. Many plays have a "flat period" at the beginning where you get to learn the backgrounds of the characters. And that is exactly why this drama works - because you learn about the characters gradually, with surprises always just around the corner.

For Bruce James Strictly Murder is just one of huge number of successful touring shows his company has produced. Comedies, dramas, musicals, murders - they are all on the list. I have decided that we must be fans of the work of this experienced repertory actor as we have seen so many of his productions. It seems if the Bruce James name is in the programme there is an almost certain chance of enjoying the show.

It certainly applies here!
5 out of 5 for Strictly Murder 2009 theatre tour Print This Entry

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