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Murder Mistaken (tour – Stevenage, Gordon Craig Theatre)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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You know that Monica Bare (Carole Dance), cosy in her armchair in front of a gas fire, is unlikely to survive the first act from the moment the curtain rises. She’s been widowed and is now married to a much younger man. As she explains to her solicitor Philip Mortimer (James Campbell), she wants to make a new will in his favour. Bad error of judgement, as the title of Janet Green’s 1950s-set thriller indicates.

Edward, the not-quite-a-gentleman husband in question is ruthless as well as fancying himself as a bit of a lady’s man. Nick Barclay brings out his roughness and what turns out to be his too-hasty stupidity, but not the charm. So when Freda Jefferies (Amelia Cormack) – another well-to-do widow– turns up, it’s a little too obvious that she has his measure from the start of their relationship. Which is more than you can say for dim little housemaid Emmie (Erin Geraghty).

Then another woman comes into his sights. This is Charlotte (Sophie Leigh), and she’s not what (or who) she seems. As his money-grabbing schemes unravel, so does Edward’s grip of reality. It’s all done competently enough, though the actresses in particular seemed to have a problem with articulation at the performance which I saw. This is a well-made thriller of the two-dimensional variety, but nothing more.


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