By Monte Doyle
Directed by Ian Dickens
Company: Ian Dickens Productions
Venue: Yvonne Arnaud Theatre
Date: Monday 19th February 2007
This was an entertaining thriller, not too surprising but reasonable all the same. A man escapes from a lunatic asylum having been sent there after supposedly killing his wife. He takes a woman hostage in her house because if he can stay free for 28 days, the order sending him to the loony bin expires and a new order has to be drawn up. The woman he takes hostage has some strange ways with her, and it soon becomes clear that she’s killed her husband and is using the escaped madman as cover – she can pin the blame on him when it comes to light. It’s also obvious that the orderly at the hospital had to be helping the madman both to go free and to know where to go. All very devious, and nicely done.
We’re keen on recycling, so it was good to see the Arsenic and Old Lace set reused here with a little different dressing. I spotted the window seat, but Steve realised it was the whole kit and caboodle. The actors were mainly from soapland TV, and there was an element of lignum in the performances with one, the Inspector, being well below average. Still, they managed well enough, and the central part of the wife was carried off convincingly, which made a big difference to the whole performance. Even so, there was a lot of laughter at some bits which were pretty ropey and the piece has dated a bit (set in the early 60s, and originally produced in 1962).
We enjoyed it well enough, and in some ways it’s a relief to see something not so challenging for a change. At the very end, when the doctor from the asylum had let his patient go, the lead actor turned to the audience and gave us a really good evil grin to finish the evening off nicely.
© 2007 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me