Double Death (Tour – Blackpool)

Devoid of tension no coherent plot, although there are flashes of humour, says Sandra Mangan of ”Double Death.”

Set in an isolated house on a Cornish clifftop, Simon Williams’s Double Death is a murder mystery with very little tension or coherent plot.

Brian Capron and Kim Tiddy in Double Death.
Brian Capron and Kim Tiddy in Double Death.

It opens dramatically enough, as a crash of special effects set the scene, with howling winds and lightning flashes illuminating the set. A shadowy figure in a natty flat cap strides around the stage, loudly filling the audience in on some of the back story.

He is Max Hennessy (overplayed by Andrew Paul), and we soon realise he is very bad news. But phew! He makes himself scarce as an elderly woman appears.

Aunt Lalla (played by Judy Buxton, the production’s only saving grace) is bustling around, preparing for the arrival of one of her twin nephews, the wheelchair-bound Ashley Hennessy. His brother, Max, is suspected of causing the fall that paralysed his sibling – and there is a restraining order to keep the pair apart. But tomorrow is their birthday, and Max has a very special present planned for poor Ash… Involving a gun, a premature obituary notice and a tragic car crash.

Max has to put his plans on hold with the arrival of nice but apparently slow on the uptake DI Fergus. With his long raincoat and clueless manner, Brian Capron creates a kind of Cornish Columbo – although, like the tide we can hear raging outside, his accent does tend to ebb and flow.

Fourth cast member is Ashley’s carer Nurse Malahide, played by Kim Tiddy, who has very limited dialogue until a plot twist in the second half puts her in the spotlight. The trouble is, by that stage the audience is all but lost and I could see people furtively scanning their watches.

There are some moments of humour, mostly in Lalla’s often curse-ridden lines, but the biggest laugh of the night came at a point in the story which I’m not was intentional.

The final curtain was met with sporadic applause and as we left the theatre I was surprised by the lack of conversation. Those who stayed to the bitter end were strangely silent as they wended their way home.

Double Death is at the Blackpool Grand until 13 September.