Tag Archives: Gary Mavers

REVIEW: Rehearsal for Murder – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

From the pen of Richard Levinson and William Link, best-known for their work on Columbo and Murder She Wrote, Rehearsal for Murder, the first production from the recently formed Classic Thriller Theatre Company, originally saw life as a 1982, Edgar Award-winning, made for TV mystery movie.

When his fiancée, movie actress Monica Welles is found dead from an apparent suicide after the opening night of her West End debut, playwright Alex Dennison is left devastated. On the first anniversary of her death, he gathers the original cast and crew in the same theatre, ostensibly for a reading of his new play, however, it soon appears that each scene has a particular significance for the people involved.

There’s always a place for a good old-fashioned theatrical murder mystery (as evidenced by the packed auditorium) and something hugely satisfying for an audience in trying to work out whodunnit, and while a hoary old theatrical staple, Levinson and Link’s play is raised above its contemporaries by a clever structure. Told as a series of flashbacks, this thriller flits between the past and presence with an admirable elegance.

There’s a commendable clarity to the storytelling and credit must go to director Roy Marsden, himself no stranger to murder mysteries, serving for 14 years as Detective Inspector Dalgleish in the ITV adaptations of PD James’ renowned crime novels, for keeping it taut throughout.

The cast are universally solid, Alex Ferns convinces as the distraught playwright Dennison, Susie Amy’s turn as the late Monica is nicely handled, and entertainment veteran Anita Harris, looking decidedly glamorous for her 74 years, turns in a well-judged performance as producer Bella Lamb. While the acting veers towards the heightened side of reality, the subject matter allows any quibbles to be easily forgiven.

There are many moments of levity to balance out the chills, and while a slow burn, it’s absorbing enough, sophisticated enough and well-acted enough to keep the interest levels high throughout. A hugely entertaining mystery and a nice change from musical theatre overload.

Runs until Saturday, 27 August 2016

Tickets available from:  http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/rehearsal-for-murder/theatre-royal-glasgow/

REVIEW: Go Back For Murder – King’s Theatre, Edinburgh

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Carla Le Marchant has learnt a disturbing family secret: her mother, Caroline Crale, died in prison after being convicted for killing her father. Leaving an intriguing legacy in the form of a letter, Caroline professes her innocence and, believing this to be true; Carla becomes determined to clear her mother’s name. Enlisting the help of Justin Fogg; the son of her mother’s defence lawyer, Carla searches out all the players from her tragic history and brings them back to the scene of the crime to uncover the truth.

Go Back For Murder is based upon Agatha Christie’s novel of 1943, Five Little Pigs,  the ‘five little pigs’ remain here but its hero Poirot is replaced by central character Carla (Sophie Ward) assuming the role of “detective”, and the action placed in 1968 and in flashback to the fateful day in 1948 when the murder takes place.

Sophie Ward Ben Nealon Agatha Christie Go Back For Murder

Carla returns from her life in Canada and as an empowered woman of the 60’s and endeavours to contact those present on the day of her father’s death, find the real murderer and exonerate her beloved mother. The first act visits each suspect in turn, where we hear their take on the events of that fateful day, and in true Christie fashion there are few clues, several red herrings and some misheard dialogue to baffle the amateur sleuths in the audience.


The cast almost entirely comprising familiar faces, skilfully weaves the complex tale for our entertainment. Ward carries the lions-share of the work in this piece and she does it with a graceful warmth and charm throughout, skilfully switching between daughter in 1968 and mother in 1948. She is ably supported by Liza Goddard, who raises the energy levels of the piece and some laughs with her keenly observed nanny Miss Williams, Antony Edridge who delivers a sensitively nuanced and convincing portrayal as true English gent  Meredith Blake and Ben Nealon as her side-kick Justin Fogg. Familiar TV faces, Gary Mavers and Robert Duncan deliver well-judged performances as victim Amyas Crale and his best friend Philip respectively, however the same can’t be said for Lysette Anthony (Elsa) and Sammy Andrews (Angela Warren) who lean too much towards caricature in their portrayals.

The piece builds momentum throughout and delivers a tidy denouement. This is storytelling at its best, classy, engaging and above all entertaining from start to finish.