Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Murder by Misadventure , Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne

Murder by Misadventure
Devonshire Park Theatre

14th July -13th August
show seen 19th July

appearance order

Harold Kent - Norman Pace
Paul Riggs - Gareth Hale
Emma Kent - Sabina Franklyn
Inspector Egan - Tony O'Callaghan

Any drama that has to attract an audience for a month, even in a popular seaside tourist resort in the height of summer, has got to be worth seeing and be good enough for recommendations to be passed on.

Fortunately Murder by Misadventure is well worth getting yourself out of a hotel room or b&b for. Overhearing a well known Eastbourne theatre critic saying he enjoyed it so much he was thinking of going again made me realise I wasn't alone in my feelings.

In fact, if we can afford a second viewing ourselves, we are thinking of taking an elderly friend who would absolutely love this superbly entertaining play.

From the phenomenal applause, cheers, screams and whistles at the end of this production I'd be surprised if anybody in the very large audience did not enjoy this great thriller penned by Edward Taylor.

On that subject this was quite a special night for everybody involved in the show as Edward Taylor was actually present for the night's performance. He must have been delighted to see his play get such a rapturous response.

Harold Kent and Paul Riggs are writing partners specializing in murder mysteries. Their aim is always to come up with a tale that has the perfect, seemingly unsolvable, murder. Their working relationship is however showing considerable signs of strain with one partner doing far better than the other both financially and in love.

With the under performing partner refusing to go quietly the murder motive is in place. But as you may be able to imagine if we are talking about a murder plot involving writers on the same subject the opportunity is there for many a twist in the tale.

All the action takes place in a luxury penthouse on the top floor of a high rise apartment block, overlooking the sea.

It has to be said that despite the fact production budgets must be tight at the moment the set is marvellous. A luxury penthouse needs luxury gadgets. As a result it seems there is a lot of scope for 'gadget failure' here but as far as I could see everything worked perfectly on the night.

This is an 'in house' production by Eastbourne Theatres under the supervision of Chris Jordan their artistic director.

With comedy duo Hale and Pace leading the cast Jordan hasn't missed the opportunity to ensure the story proceeds with plenty of laughs throughout. Gareth Hale and Norman Pace have, despite doing some solo work, continued their longstanding partnership with tours abroad including being incredibly popular in Australia.

As a double act the two still feed off each other brilliantly. Although I guess with 10 UK series of Hale and Pace under their belts you wouldn't expect them to have lost their touch. This was a brilliant casting. Using a well known duo to play an on stage partnership just seems right.

But we mustn't forget this really is an all star cast in every sense. Renowned and respected actress Sabina Franklyn plays a wonderful Emma Kent. Tony O'Callaghan ,who had 12 incredible years starring in The Bill, completes the cast perfectly in his impressive role as the seemingly hapless, hilarious, but none the less ruthless Inspector Egan.

This is a play which could have you thinking from beginning to end as you try to guess who will die? How? When? Who will be responsible for the deed? Take it from me you may as well not bother with wasting brain power. There are so many clever deviations built into the tale the odds are stacked well against you guessing correctly anyway.

You are better off sitting back comfortably and just appreciating what is an ingenious piece of writing and a very impressive show for Eastbourne's summer season.
See it, enjoy it and then tell somebody else how entertaining Murder by Misadventure actually is.
Or go and see it again !!

Murder by Misadventure, Devonshire Park Theatre 2011

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