This soap star studded cast might well bring a different audience to the Theatre Royal this week and given the popularity and success of Peter James’s novels the ticket sales will no doubt be buoyant.

Without giving anything away, the plot revolves around a stag party prank that goes wrong, Michael appears to have everything: a successful business, finance and on the brink of marriage when he is plunged into terror, isolation and facing the likelihood of never being found alive.   Into the mix comes Detective Superintendant Roy Grace whose reliance on help from a medium has pushed his long suffering side kick to the limits; but they have a missing person to find and crimes to solve. The ingredients are there in abundance.

One thing the company cannot fix is the breakneck pace at which the script and plot unravels. As a result, what could be an excellent TV drama is filled with two dimensional characters and a plot that is full of potential but never feels remotely believable. Subsequently it is hard to empathise with the characters or engage with their plans however devious and unlikely they may seem.  

There is a couple of seat gripping moments and a fair amount of twists, there is also brutality and shock tactics from the Director but the overall impact seems to be lost by the format of the script. The design is good and the lighting both atmospheric and effective.

The play runs until Saturday and is touring.

*** (3 Stars)

Petra Schofield