Stars explained: * A production of no real merit with failings in all areas. ** A production showing evidence of not enough time or effort, or even talent, and which never breathes any real life into the piece – or a show lumbered with a terrible script. *** A good enjoyable show which might have some small flaws but has largely achieved what it set out to do.**** An excellent show which shows a great deal of work and stage craft with no noticeable or major flaws.***** A four star show which has found that extra bit of magic which lifts theatre to another plane.
Half stars fall between the ratings

drake top

PC Plod, played by Andy Bingham and Inspector Drake, played by Martin Salter

Inspector Drake and the PerfeKt Crime

The Nonentities

The Rose Theatre, Kidderminster


The Nonentities begin their new Autumn season in great comedic style with a performance of a truly locally grown product Inspector Drake and the Perfekt Crime. Written by David Tristram, who was born in the Black Country and educated in the Midlands, it’s one from his portfolio of 29 comedy works that showcases his ability to craft intricate plots, interwoven with hilarious dialogue.

Some of his other notable works include Last Tango in Little Grimley, an amusing exploration of amateur dramatics, and Soap Opera, a hilarious take on the absurdity of daily life.

Tristram packs just about every comedic style into his plays creating a delightful concoction of humour, absurdity, and mystery. His style seems to acknowledge just about everyone from Morecambe and Wise to the Young Ones. At times it’s witty and thoughtful and at others it’s full on childlike, slapstick humour. With the most preposterous of plots he manages to keep the mixture simmering in a way that keeps everyone entertained.

The play centres around the endearing yet bumbling Inspector Drake, portrayed with impeccable comedic timing by Martin Salter, as he investigates a seemingly "perfect" murder. Inspector Drake complete with his talent for mispronunciations and absurd deductions, aimlessly trips through a long list of improbable clues, whilst the plays tenuous links merely offer the cast the opportunity to revel in a series of continual cameos.

PC Plod, played to great effect by Andy Bingham, is nothing but a deduction of every comedic police Bobby you can imagine. The inept Plod, clowns around with a complete mastery of nothing and as the plot unfolds he and Inspector Drake embark upon gag after gag as they attempt to solve the case. Whether it's Drake's frequent malapropisms or Plods absurd explanations for their actions, the humour flows in every direction. .

Bob Graham plays it almost straight as Dr Short the man with a missing, possibly murdered wife and is a perfect foil for the vaguely crime busting duos antics.

There is some kind of plot though that develops with the arrival of Dr Shorts supposed daughter Sabrina and then somehow the arrival of yet another incarnation of her. Katy Ball played the melodramatic Sabrina with a flourish enticing the hapless Drake with the offer of a kiss as soon as he seems to be about to unearth another random clue.

The second incarnation of Sabrina is in fact Miss Short, played nicely by Hannah Tolley, who arrives late to the proceedings to fully confuse the issue with her presence.

Of course in the end Drake works it all out and while there is little credibility in it all, it does not matter one bit. The evening is just a roller coaster of fun to sit back and let unfold.

There was a time when plays like Inspector Drake and the Perfect Crime were easily viewed as far-fetched and preposterous. But in the modern day world of social media and the smoke and mirror bumbling antics of politicians and the like, the gap between the ridiculous and the reality gets smaller every day. To 16-09-23.

Jeff Grant


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