A game of die and seek

The Perfect Murder

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry


FACED with the imminent loss of his job as IT manager at the Brighton egg box factory, Victor Smiley (Les Dennis) advances his plan for the perfect murder – the ‘one the police never hear about’.

He loves watching, and is clearly learning from, murder mysteries from the likes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie regularly shown on daytime television.

He is guided by his oft-quoted motto, WWSD, What Would Sherlock Do?; and delivers a hilarious if scathing critique of various actors playing his hero including Benedict ‘Cucumberpatch’. His wife,‘Moanie Joanie’ (Clare Goose), who prefers the American police series with fewer educational possibilities, is his chosen victim – with plans of her own.

His paramour, the lovely psychic Slovakian sex-worker Camila Walcek (Simona Armstrong), is developing her ‘seeing’ relationship with Detective Constable Roy Grace (Steven Miller), her ‘gifts’ put her in the difficult position.

The story develops into a Mr and Mrs Smith-style ‘whodunnit’ first! Moanie Joanie has the support of new lover Don Kirk (Gray O’Brien), a taxi-driver from Tunbridge Wells with an unfathomable line in Cockney rhyming slang that provides a good deal of the humour. It’s a clever device.

So, leaving a vast amount out and to your imagination, the pair are left with a frozen stiff on their hands and Moanie Joanie’s occult predilections are annoying Don every bit as much as they had Victor. But who exactly is this frozen stiff? Ah ha, there’s the rub! However I have to say that with that fully exposed set, the aforementioned frozen stiff had an awful to do at half-time!

Suffice it to say, the ‘perfect murder’ requires more follow-up than presented here, we don’t know what happened next.. Did Roy Grace get his man?  His favourite Slovakian medium is no longer available…

A word for the set - which was wonderful for supporting continuous action though its complexities didn’t support the actors much – particuarly in the first scene with Victor and Camila in the ‘Kitten Parlour’ which could have done with either some background music as appeared later to great effect or at least a little more action.

All in all, this production, directed by IanTalbot, makes for a very enjoyable evening with plenty to get the ‘little grey cells’ going, and twists galore to keep you guessing. To 01-03-14.

Jane Howard 


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