By Francis Durbridge
Directed by Ian Dickens
Company: Ian Dickens Productions
Venue: Connaught Theatre
Date: Wednesday 19th September 2007
This was an enjoyable thriller, an average Francis Durbridge which was showing its age but still gave us some fun and a bit of a puzzle. The set was pretty standard. Windows centre back, with a desk in front, and the usual angled walls, with one doorway to our right, and two doors to our left. Bookcases, chairs, tables and assorted pictures gave us a suitable setting for an eighties flat belonging to an author, Max Telligan (Simon Ward). He writes novels, rather than crime thrillers.
First we met the secretary Liz, and the (separated) wife Harriet (Sandra Dickinson), who gave us the basic setup. Max and Harriet are living apart, their daughter is nearly eighteen and wanting to branch out on her own. The secretary’s only been with the author for a couple of years, and seems to be the sensible, straightforward type. The wife was a bag of nerves, and probably would be difficult to live with. The fun started when the daughter phoned up (was it only 20 years ago we had such cumbersome telephones?) to tell them she’s heard an announcement on the radio that Max has been found dead in a car just outside Munich, where he’d been staying for a few days. They’re trying to get more information when Max himself turns up, just returned from the airport. What is going on?
From here we go on a circuitous route through terrorist plots and secret service agents until the real villain was finally unmasked. I considered lots of possibilities as we went and I only just picked the right person before they were revealed to us. It was nice to see a piece that was elaborate enough to have lots of options. It did take a while to get going, as there was a lot of background to set up, but it still passed the time very well, and had some lovely funny lines, such as Digby’s response when Max complained that the villain had a gun – “That’s a risk we had to take”. (Digby (Neil Stacy) was the clean-up man.)
© 2007 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me