Picture: Pamela Raith   

Crimes on Centre Court

Malvern Theatres


The Whombledon International Tournament’s annual celebration of tennis is threatened by the sudden and suspicious death of the Chairman Lord Knows.

His son Hugh, played by Emile Clarke, succeeds his father and, when the police decline to investigate his father’s demise, employs a pair of private detectives Penny and Pink, to explore the mystery. Further murders follow; the mystery deepens until our heroic detectives solve it all.

The New Old Friends Theatre Company present this lively and humorous production for two days at Malvern Theatres. The formula of four very versatile actors, switching characters at lightning speed, with clever use of sound and light, reminds one of the Reduced Shakespeare productions – quick fire humour, physical gags, inspired design and pacy direction.

On entering the theatre you are presented with a set that echoes the iconic entrance to the All England Lawn Tennis Club – the classic green, the wood panelling, the hedges all make an immediate impression. The tone is then set as the cast bring a song in four-part harmony in absurd and surprising costume. The old style wooden rackets set the period. The first murder, the first mystery, quickly follows.

Although there are few side-splittingly funny moments, the production amuses throughout and is wonderfully clever. There are some brilliant moments. The tennis rally in the second act, the representation of Hawk-eye technology, the clever use of props and set design, the sound effects are all impressive.

The cast of Emile Clarke, Kirsty Cox, Sedona Rose and Ben Thornton demonstrate excellent versatility, musicality and energy. Ben Thornton’s physicality is particularly impressive; descending to the lower floor on the stairs, in the lift or on the escalator is brilliantly portrayed.

In the first act, the plot is a bit confusing and a bit thin, but the second act moves more fluently and is at times very funny.  The show is only on at Malvern for the two days, but is moving around the country and can be seen in a variety of theatres over the coming weeks.

Tim Crow


Index page Malvern Reviews A-Z Reviews by Theatre