Skip to main content

The Perfect Murder

King's Theatre, Edinburgh
Three stars

There are lesbians in Agatha Christie shows on TV, a randy taxi driver fond of cockney rhyming slang is laying out the patio, and a Croatian prostitute with psychic tendencies is feeling strange vibrations. All of which barely scratches the surface in terms of how far you can go with a murder mystery yarn in Shaun McKenna's stage version of Peter James' best-selling novella, published in 2010.

Here we find IT consultant and classic pulp fiction obsessive Victor Smiley plotting a very bitter end for his other half, Joan, with hooker Kamila. Joan, meanwhile, has plans of her own with buff cabbie Don. Only when James' rookie detective Roy Grace lands on Kamila's doorstep to investigate another case do things start to come undone.

James and McKenna may aspire in part for a latter-day take on Joe Orton's black comedy, Loot, by way of Noel Coward's more spectrally inclined Blithe Spirit in Ian Talbot's production, revived and recast here since its last outing in these parts in 2014. In truth its heightened sense of its own ridiculousness falls somewhere between a suburban sit-com and a 1970s sex comedy. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, and there are shades here of what the League of Gentlemen might do with such a knowingly fun-loving mish-mash of genres.

Casting East Enders double act Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace as the Smileys adds to the fun in a piece of double-barrelled populism. Richie's portrayal of Victor as a worm that turns is a particularly grisly study of human impotence turned nasty in a crowd-pleasing tale of the not entirely unexpected that just about gets away with it.

The Herald, March 2nd 2016

ends


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Honourable K.W. Harman: Ltd Ink Corporation

31 Bath Road, Leith Docks, March 17th-20th

In a monumental shipping container down by Leith Docks, a Sex Pistols tribute band is playing Anarchy in the U.K.. on a stage set up in the middle of the room. Either side, various constructions have been built in such a way so viewers can window shop as they promenade from one end of the room to the next, with the holy grail of a bar at either end.

Inbetween, there’s a confession booth and a mock-up of a private detective’s office with assorted documentation of real-life surveillance pinned to the walls. Two people seem to be having a conversation in public as if they're on a chat show. An assault course of smashed windows are perched on the floor like collateral damage of post-chucking out time target practice. A display of distinctively lettered signs originally created by a homeless man in search of a bed for the night are clumped together on placards that seem to be marking out territory or else finding comfort in being together. Opp…

Scot:Lands 2017

Edinburgh's Hogmanay
Four stars

A sense of place is everything in Scot:Lands. Half the experience of Edinburgh's Hogmanay's now annual tour of the country's diverse array of cultures seen over nine bespoke stages in one global village is the physical journey itself. Scot:Lands too is about how that sense of place interacts with the people who are inspired inspired by that place.

So it was in Nether:Land, where you could see the day in at the Scottish Storytelling Centre with a mixed bag of traditional storytellers and contemporary performance poets such as Jenny Lindsay. The queues beside the Centre's cafe were further enlivened by the gentlest of ceilidhs was ushered in by Mairi Campbell and her band.

For Wig:Land, the grandiloquence of the little seen Signet Library in Parliament Square was transformed into a mini version of the Wigtown Book Festival. While upstairs provided a pop-up performance space where writers including Jessica Fox and Debi Gliori read eithe…

Nomanslanding

Tramway, Glasgow until July 2nd
Four stars

In the dead of night, the audience are split in two and led under-cover into lamp-lit tented structures. Inside, what look like peasant women on the run lead us down a ramp and into a large circular pod. It feels part cathedral, part space-ship, and to come blinking into the light of such a fantastical structure after stumbling in the dark disorientates and overwhelms. Sat around the pod as if awaiting prayers to begin, we watch as performers Nerea Bello and Judith Williams incant mournfully on either side of the room. Their keening chorales embark on a voyage of their own, twisting around each other by way of the international language of singing. As if in sympathy, the walls wail and whisper, before starting to move as those on either side of the pod are left stranded, a gulf between them.

This international co-commission between Glasgow Life and the Merchant City Festival, Sydney Harbour Foreshaw Authority in Australia and Urbane Kienste …