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

It's all a bit of a mystery

Veronica's Room

Sutton Arts Theatre, Sutton Coldfield


THIS is an Ira Levin classic drama that compels the attention – but even if you give it your all, you may well leave the theatre wondering who's who, who's what and who did what.

It's that sort of evening.

A young couple get into conversation with an older couple in a restaurant and are persuaded to accompany them to their home – and then to see the room that they say had been their daughter Veronica's.

So far, so straightforward. Who says? It's not like that at all. Gradually, it becomes apparent that the young people have strayed into a world where nothing is as it should be or what it seemed to be. It was 1973 when it all started, but it now seems to be 1935. All that appears to be clear is that Veronica is dead – and that the older couple seem to have been her parents and that they claim that the girl could be Veronica's double.

It's not edge-of-your-seat time, but it's certainly down to the audience to concentrate, just to try to keep up with the possibilities.


Suzy Donnelly offers a sterling performance in Ian Cornock's impressive production, moving from being the happy young visitor to the screaming, shrill, terrified victim, struggling to retain her grip on reality after she has found herself locked alone in Veronica's room.

Richard Ham, as the young man, successfully persuades us to look at him in a different light as the action progresses.

Robert Hicks and Alison Daly are the increasingly alarming hosts, creating a supercharged atmosphere of high-decibel danger.

This is a four-strong company that presents its tangled message with admirable authority. It is hard to let your attention wander – but if it does, bring it rapidly to heel: there always seems to be something else around the corner. Either in 1935 or 1973. To 05-03-11

John Slim 

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