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

Futureproof 2017

Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow until February 4th 2018
Four stars

Now in its ninth year, Futureproof's showcase of recent graduate photographers from seven Scottish art schools and universities returns to its spiritual home at Street Level, with nineteen artists embracing photo essays, abstraction and constructed narratives. It is Karlyn Marshall's Willies, Beuys and Me that grabs you first. Tucked in a corner, this depiction of a woman impersonating iconic artist Joseph Beuys says much about gender stereotyping, and recalls Manfred Karge's play, Man to Man, in which a German woman took on her dead husband's identity.

The personal and the political converge throughout. Ben Soedera's Foreign Sands contrasts natural resources and the constructed world. Gareth and Gavin Bragdon's The Bragdon Brothers moves onto the carnivalesque streets of Edinburgh. Kieran Delaney's Moments also looks at the apparently ordinary. Matthew Buick goes further afield, as tourists…

Bdy_Prts

Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh
Saturday December 2nd


It should probably come as no surprise that professional dancers are in the audience for the Edinburgh leg of this mini tour by spectral performance art/pop auteurs Bdy_Prts on the back of the release of their sublime debut album, The Invisible Hero. Beyond the music, the raison d’etre of Bdy_Prts’ dynamic duo of Jill O'Sullivan and Jenny Reeve, after all, is a flamboyantly costumed display of kinetic physical jerks and modernist shape-throwing to illustrate a set of fizzing machine-age chorales.

In this sense, the Bdy_Prts live experience is several works of art for the price of one that's a long way from the pair's formative work fronting Sparrow and the Workshop (O'Sullivan) and Strike the Colours (Reeve). Part living sculptures, part Bloomsbury Group super-heroines, part widescreen pop fabulists, O'Sullivan and Reeve paint their faces with ancient symbols and sport customised shoulder pads that look both seasonally …

Ceildh

Tron Theatre, Glasgow Three stars
One kiss is all it takes for everyone to understand each other in Catriona Lexy Campbell and Mairi Sine Campbell’s new play. Linguistically that is, as ancient and modern are brought to rollickingly intimate life by the Gaelic-based Theatre Gu Leor (Theatre Galore) company in the Tron’s Vic Bar en route to an extensive cross-Scotland tour. The set-up is the sort of ghastly tartan-draped corporate function whose perma-grinning hostess Lisa makes bogus claims of preserving culture while blatantly intent on flogging it off to the highest bidder. Think McWetherspoon by way of Trumpageddon.
With the audience ushered into a cabaret table arrangement by Lisa’s step-daughter Eilidh and serenaded by Eddie’s oh-so-couthy accordion playing, the dirt from Harris is unearthed along with a bottle of David Beckham-branded whisky. This causes the corporate shindig to be disrupted on an epic scale by seventeenth century poet Mairi Ruadh. Which is when both the kissing an…