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Dead Simple

King's Theatre, Edinburgh
Three stars
Property developers take note. Be careful who you cut deals with, both
in business and pleasure, or else you might end up like the hapless
pair at the centre of Peter James' best-selling thriller, adapted here
by Shaun McKenna and directed by Ian Talbot for a stage version
co-produced by James himself. One minute Michael and Mark are making a
cool five million, which they've carefully lodged in a Caymans Island
account while shooting the breeze concerning Michael's impending
nuptials to Tina Hobley's drop-dead gorgeous Ashley. The next, Michael
finds himself six feet under in the local forest after an elaborate
stag night prank goes tragically awry.

Enter James' regular copper in chief Detective Superintendent Roy
Grace, who just made the headlines after putting faith in a doting but
underwritten Medium rather than foraging for clues the old-fashioned
way. With his sidekick DS Branson in tow, Gray O'Brien's Grace somehow
navigates his way calmly through a plot that also features a socially
anxious young man who's seen too much CSI, as well as Ashley's American
uncle before spotting who the real bad guys are. And yes, his discovery
is again in part down to Sarah Baxendale's devoted Medium.

All of which is tailor-made for the sort of prime time sedative TV most
of the cast have either escaped from or are en route to as they signal
every plot twist with a one-dimensional roll of the eyes that just
stops short of a wink. While there are enough double bluffs and cheap
thrills to keep the uninitiated guessing, including one carefully
placed shock-moment, this harmlessly ridiculous affair is probably for
James fans only.

The Herald, February 5th 2014




ends




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