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The Perfect Murder is based on the novel of the same name by Peter James, who currently holds the baton of one of the most successful British crime writers he was also in the audience last night as this new tour takes off across the country.

This is a confusing production as there is little of the thriller or danger that one might expect from a novelist of such high regard.  The dialogue between the feuding central couple is repetitive, gunning for low level laughs regarding sexual prowess and snoring.  There is in true thriller style a final twist, no spoilers here, and whilst the play seems for the moment to be an overriding comedy, the packed house thoroughly enjoyed it until its very last breath.

Les Dennis (Victor Smiley) and Claire Goose (Joan Smiley) work hard to bring some depth to the script. Their obsession with crime programmes continually paving the way for their various schemes, their knowledge of murder gleaned from various repeats on cable channels.

Gray O’Brien (Don Kirk) has the most fun with his attempts at cockney rhyming slang and his need to escape with Joan. Whilst Steven Miller (Roy Grace) and Kamila Walcak (Simona Armstrong) are left with very little opportunity to bring plausible sub plots into the proceedings.

It is not going to give you nightmares and it is definitely entertaining, I just hope that was the intention of such an accomplished novelist watching this first stage adaptation however, the response from the audience was no doubt reassuring with many happy, animated conversations filling the corridors at the end.

Petra Schofield

2 Stars