adam and larie

Adam Woodyatt and Laurie Brett. Photo: Chris Payne

Looking Good Dead

Belgrade Theatre Coventry


With a gripping storyline that you’d expect from Peter James, and a stellar cast, this is a sure-fire winner. Adam Woodyatt and Laurie Brett (Ian and Jane Beale in East Enders) play Tom and Kellie Bryce, parents of a fractious family where if a thing goes wrong, it goes really, really wrong and only quick thinking from their son Max (Luke Ward-Wilkinson) and Harry Long as Roy Grace and his able assistants Bella (Gemma Stroyan) and Glenn (Leon Stewart) can save the day.

Back home in an up-market neighbourhood of Brighton, Tom Bryce has found a memory stick on the train and, thinking he might be able to return it to its rightful owner, has a look. It’s not easy as it’s encrypted. Would you open it or simply put it in the bin?

Son, Max, is 17 and into hacking, breaks the encryption and they are rightly shocked at the contents. It looks like a snuff video of a woman, escort Janie (Natalie Boakye) being murdered on screen. Is it real.

The phone rings and they are told of consequences if the police are involved. Too late . . . Max is too shocked at the goings on to leave it at that. Tom panics and rings round his contacts for money. Kellie has no clue what has happened. Things take a really dodgy turn; they are threatened and finally Kellie is kidnapped for a £300,000 ransom. That’s a tidy sum for a family that’s broke as well as broken. Son in the ‘Andes’ (Mylo MacDonald) and potential saviour Jonas Kent (Ian Houghton) turn out to be not all they seem.

The twist is as twisty as a twisty thing and the niff of red herrings pervades the air. I didn’t see it coming and it was a real shock.

The clever part, thinking about it afterwards, is that all of Tom’s data from his computer is not just destroyed, it’s transferred to the criminals. So, they are entitled to know a vast amount about his diary, contacts and history. Not to mention, there is a starring part for a pair of incredibly efficient noise-cancelling headphones and some fancy flowers! Fans of Peter James’ oeuvre will love this one. And fans of EastEnders will ask, does Jane shoot him or what? Directed by Jonathan O’Boyle, it will be looking good to 12-03-22.

Jane Howard


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