Rehearsal for Murder, from the pens of the legendary writing team Richard Levinson and William Link – the creators of the unsurpassable mystery series Murder, She Wrote and the award-winning detective series Columbo – is set to visit the Theatre Royal Bath from Tuesday 29th March to Saturday 2nd April.
Following the phenomenal decade-long success of The Agatha Christie Theatre Company, which sold over two million tickets and continually played to packed houses across the UK, Bill Kenwright now presents The Classic Thriller Company in Levinson and Link’s thriller, adapted for the stage by David Rogers.
The star cast featured in this gripping stage production includes Robert Daws (Poldark, The Royal, Outside Edge, Roger Roger), his wife and co-star from The Royal, Amy Robbins (Casualty, Blood Brothers), and three of the most popular members of The Agatha Christie Theatre Company, Susan Penhaligon (Bouquet of Barbed Wire, A Fine Romance), Robert Duncan (Drop the Dead Donkey, Twelve Angry Men) and Ben Nealon (Soldier Soldier, Black Coffee), alongside Steven Pinder (Brookside) and Lucy Dixon (Waterloo Road, Hollyoaks).
Playwright Alex Dennison is left heartbroken when his fiancée and leading lady Monica Welles is found dead from an apparent suicide after the opening night of her stage debut. On the anniversary of that ill-fated night, Alex assembles the same cast and crew in the same theatre, for a reading of his new play. But as the reading begins, it soon becomes clear that Alex believes Monica was murdered and his new play is a devious cat-and-mouse chase to uncover her killer…
Robert Daws is best known on television for his roles as Dr. Gordon Ormerod in eighty-one episodes of The Royal, Roger Dervish in the comedy drama Outside Edge, Cresta Cabs owner Sam in BBC comedy Roger, Roger, and most recently, Dr Choake in Poldark. His extensive television work also includes Jeeves and Wooster, Midsomer Murders, Casualty, The House of Eliott, New Tricks, Doc Martin and Coronation Street. His stage roles include Caught in the Net and The Secret of Sherlock Holmes in the West End. Bath audiences will remember his last performance at the Theatre Royal in a powerful production of Blackbird in 2008.
Amy Robbins starred as Dr. Jill Weatherill in all eight series of The Royal and appeared in many other television dramas including Casualty, Where the Heart Is, Holby City, World’s End, Doctors, Heartbeat, Dalziel and Pascoe and EastEnders. Amy’s stage credits include starring as Mrs Johnstone in Blood Brothers in the West End, and performing at London’s Almeida and Park Theatres, Glasgow Citizens Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre.
Susan Penhaligon is well known on television for the ITV drama Bouquet of Barbed Wire and for playing Judi Dench’s sister in the sitcom A Fine Romance. Her extensive television credits also include Upstairs Downstairs, Tales of the Unexpected, Bergerac, Casualty and Touch of Frost. Her West End theatre credits include The Three Sisters, Of Mice and Men, The Maintenance Man, The Mysterious Mr Love, The Real Thing and Dangerous Corner. Susan has performed in ten different productions at the Theatre Royal Bath over the past thirty years, most recently in And Then There Were None in 2015.
Robert Duncan is best known on television for his role as Gus Hedges in Drop the Dead Donkey. On stage, he has played lead roles in theatres across the country, including Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire, Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew, Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre and Frank in Willy Russell’s Educating Rita. As a member of The Agatha Christie Theatre Company, he starred in Verdict and Go Back for Murder, both of which played Bath. He recently performed in Twelve Angry Men in the West End – a production which toured to Bath in 2015 – where Robert now returns for his tenth production at the Theatre Royal.
Ben Nealon played Captain Jeremy Forsythe in the award-winning ITV series Soldier Soldier.
His television credits also include Casualty, The Bill, EastEnders and Doctors, and his film roles include the Bollywood blockbusters The Rising and the Oscar-nominated Lagaan. With The Agatha Christie Theatre Company at the Theatre Royal, he has most recently appeared in And Then There Were None in 2015 and Black Coffee in 2014.
Steven Pinder is well known on television for his thirteen year role as Max Farnham in the long-running Channel 4 soap Brookside. Prior to Brookside, he starred as shop owner Roy Lambert in Crossroads and appeared in numerous television dramas including The Bill, Emmerdale, Casualty, Hotel Babylon, Holby City and Doctors. His previous performances at the Theatre Royal Bath include The Constant Wife in 2004 and The Diary of Anne Frank in 2012.
Lucy Dixon became a household name as Danielle Harker in the BBC One drama Waterloo Road, a role she played for three years. She then joined the cast of Channel 4’s Hollyoaks as Tilly Evans, receiving a National Television Award nomination for Best Serial Drama Performance.
The cast is completed by Martin Carroll, Holly Ellis and Mark Carter.
Roy Marsden is eminently suited to directing this captivating thriller after playing one of television’s most famous detectives Inspector Adam Dalgliesh in P.D. James’s many series for fifteen years. As a director, his numerous credits include the West End productions of Noël Coward’s Volcano and Agatha Christie’s (under the pen name Mary Westmacott) A Daughter’s A Daughter. Most recently for Bill Kenwright, he directed the UK tour of Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black theatrical follow-up, The Small Hand.
Rehearsal for Murder appears at the Theatre Royal Bath from Tuesday 29th March to Saturday 2nd April. Tickets are on sale at the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 and online at www.theatreroyal.org.uk
Photos by Mark Yeoman