Kiss of Death (Sheringham)

It’s a very, very clever thriller, stuffed full of dramatic plot twists and with four meaty parts. Of course, it was wrtiten by an actor…

Kiss of Death by Simon Williams presents certain technological problems with staging this story of a "honey trap" set by police desperate to catch a serial killer with a Ripper-like modus operandi.

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Warren S Cathrine (director), Kees Van Woerkom (set designer) and Matt Coomber (lighting and technical manager) use the small stage of Sheringham's Little Theatre to create a real sense of claustrophobia and menace.

Lynch-pin of the enticement plan is Zoe Lang (without an "i"). We learn that she's an experienced undercover officer but discovers that the good guys and the bad guys are all-too-often interchangeable. Catching a killer is not the same as nailing a drug baron.

Her mentors in this deadly cat-and-mouse game are Bernard, of dark glasses and a monosyllabic turn of phrase (Richard Keightley), and Brocklebank (Alec Gray), an officer with an obsession. You feel for sparky but tautly edgy Zoe in Emma Barron's characterisation as she's drilled in her entrapment role.

When she meets John Smith (Ryan Starling, whose career has been nurtured by the Little Theatre), the sinister undertones sharpen and the tension builds. All four actors have the balance of the drama absolutely right and keep the audience in suspense right through to the unexpected (?) dénouement.

What will happen in that derelict basement flat and what is going on in the old lecture room which Brockebank and Bernard have commandeered as their command centre? You will have to find out for yourself.

Kiss of Death runs at the Little Theatre, Sheringham until 7 August.