Where: Outer London
13 October 2010 WOS Rating: Reader Reviews: View and add to our user reviews Each one of us, however noble our deeds, is capable of ‘a detestable act’. That appears to be the premise of , written and directed by When No One Is Watching Mark Grey. Seven much lauded charity workers are summoned to a mysterious mansion to be told that they have a chance of a share of £20 million, bequeathed by one Edward Charles Montgomery, who ran ‘Command’, the humanitarian charity for which they all worked. They are unknown to each other, and none of them knows ‘Edward Charles’ either. So far so Agatha Christie.
Things then veer towards
JB Priestley when several of them are questioned by the ‘Colonel’ about his wife. They deny all knowledge of her, then realise that they have somehow been complicit in her death without realising it – though quite what the Colonel and his wife have to do with Mr Montgomery is never made clear.
A kind of parlour game ensues whereby the guests have to decide between them which of their number is guilty of ‘a detestable act’. If they fail, they all go away with nothing. So, secrets come tumbling out, they all gang up on each other and generally behave like greedy, lustful human beings. Which is when they realise that each one of them is there to represent one of the deadly sins, though this turns out to be a red herring.
The direction is awkward in this difficult traverse space, with too many slow cues and out-front ‘confessions’ but the cast succeeds in generating a sense of mystery and suspense, which saves the day. Just. But this is a waste of an intriguing idea, with a weak ending that suggests that everything we have seen hitherto is irrelevant if they all learn to be ‘worthy’ in their own lives.
Robert Phillips is in fine commanding form as the Colonel, Caroline King-Gadekah and Keira Allen-Anderson have their moments as a marriage-breaker and a bulimic respectively, and Colin Anderson convinces as a man who sees a sexual opportunity at every turn; but ultimately the play tries too hard to be a moral fable for our times.
- Giles Cole
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