Stage Review – The Perfect Murder

 The Perfect Murder UK Tour - Shane Richie as Victor Smiley and Jessie Wallace as Joan Smiley -  Honeybunn Photography

The Perfect Murder UK Tour – Shane Richie as Victor Smiley and Jessie Wallace as Joan Smiley –
Honeybunn Photography

My word! There’s lengthy dialogue for the actors to get to grips with. Dialogue which is modern; immodest; humorous at times, and though a bit cheesy delivered with much ingenuity by the players.

You can say one thing about the Smiley’s marriage. It’s equal. Equal in the fact they despise one another with a passion. Equal that they both court dark ideas about escaping from its confines. Equal that neither one would care if the other were dead.

The PR around this production may present this as a murder mystery, but it is actually a black comedy, and one that is quite average in many regards I have to say. But hey! There are questions that need answering, and definitely a mystery to solve and some unexpected happenings. I report that the attention it received from onlookers was well procured and there are many theatrical elements present which helped this unfortunate pair, in their mundane setting, dust off their 20 year attachment somewhat spectacularly.

The play certainly received much audience acclaim judging by the comments overheard on press night.

One person asked a friend from the aisle ‘You enjoying it?’ ‘Yes, really enjoying it, it’s really good,’ was the enthusiastic reply.

And upon my exit Re: Richie and Wallace I heard a voice say ‘they work well together, don’t they?’

Yes, I am sure that this pairing of the famous two from BBC’s EastEnders is a box office draw. Last night Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre had a full main house. I’m not that familiar with the TV work of either, but Richie’s performance was a surprise in that it was strangely sophisticated, not a word I would think to pin on the guy usually; and Wallace certainly does physical comedy very capably and every line she delivers is exacting. Actors Simona Armstrong (TV credits), Stephen Fletcher (TV, Stage and Radio) and Benjamin Wilkin (Call the Midwife, Kinky Boots) complete the cast of five. Understudies: Alan Freestone (West End) and Charlotte Sutherland (Theatre credits)

Entertaining, but my critical view is it does not manage to strike gold in quite the way I thought that it could or should

Review by theatre critic, Debra Hall who attended press night of The Perfect Murder in an official capacity on Tuesday 29 March 2016

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