Nightfright – May 2010

6/10

By Roger S Moss

Directed by Ian Dickens

Company: Ian Dickens Productions

Venue: Connaught Theatre

Date: Thursday 20th May 2010

A decent enough production of a pretty average thriller. Ian Dickens Productions tend to do these very much tongue in cheek, and there were certainly a few laughs tonight, though we suspect the locked kitchen door swinging open wasn’t planned. The set had the main entrance far left, window, door to kitchen, locked cupboard door, stairs to upper level (bedroom), door far right to garden/graveyard. This was a converted chapel, which was being rented out by an unscrupulous pair to provide suitable bodies for organ harvesting. Along come one newlywed couple, arriving a day before the resident villains have finished clearing up the previous occupant, and years of careful planning go to waste. How frustrating.

The regular in the cast, David Callister, did a good job as the multiple personality medical villain, while Joanne Heywood matched him as the schizophrenic estate agent come neighbourly vamp. I noticed they were both smiling at the end when they took their bows – I assume that it’s good fun playing those parts, and not something to take seriously. The leads were OK, though I found Helen George’s voice a bit nasal for my liking. But the main problem was the weak writing. It lost all credibility for me when the couple failed to call the police after finding the bloodstained clothes hidden up the chimney, not to mention the freshly dug grave in the no longer used graveyard. Still, they did their best, and we enjoyed ourselves well enough.

I did like the spoof CVs for the fake actors, to give the audience the mildest challenge possible in spotting the double casting. The inclusion of The Grain Store in the actress’s RSC credits was a particularly nice touch, I thought.

© 2010 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me

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