In only the very best of showbusiness traditions Talking Scarlet, the production company behind the three week season of Murder in the Park thrillers, have saved the very best until last. Following on from their tremendous version of Playing Dead, and the not-so-good Rope, they bring us the wonderfully tense Dangerous Obsession.
The action takes place in the conservatory of a large house somewhere in the Home Counties. The set is clever as, despite the conservatory having no walls, there is a palpable feeling of claustrophobia as the dramatic tension increases throughout the piece. Offstage sound effects are used to enhance the experience and they work very well – although the tweeting of garden birds could have been slightly quieter so as not to be so distracting.
Anna Brecon is wonderfully middle-class and uptight as the lady of the house, Sally Driscoll, who, while scantily clad and watering the plants in her conservatory, is disturbed by a man who first watches her through the blinds and then approaches through the open patio door.
It turns out that the man is John Barrett, played by George Telfer, someone that Mr and Mrs Driscoll had met at a conference in Torquay some months previously. Telfer plays the role incredibly well and, after her initial scepticism, soon has Mrs Driscoll firmly on side, although the more observant members of the audience have already noticed a couple of clues indicating that all may not be well.
Soon Mark Driscoll Ben Roddy arrives home from work and the story starts to rapidly unfold. Sadly, it is almost impossible to reveal any more without spoiling the plotline but I can say that the script is brilliantly written, very well acted, contains twist upon twist and, I defy anyone to get to the end of the play and say “ Well, I saw that coming.”
All three actors are quite believable in their respective roles and, particularly in Act Two, create a superbly tense piece that shows exactly what a thriller should be and, even with signs throughout the theatre warning of gunshots in the piece, the entire audience jumps “en masse” as they fire.
Without doubt Dangerous Obsession is the best thriller in the Murder in the Park season and offers a superb night out for all lovers of the genre.