Theatre: The Perfect Murder @ The Churchill Theatre [SueInTheStalls]

Guest Blogger, Sue In The Stalls visited The Churchill Theatre, Bromley this week to see The Perfect Murder.

The audience waited excitedly for the curtain to rise on Kat and Alfie. But as was obvious straight away the characters of Victor and Joan (Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace) were very different from their respective television personae. ‘The Perfect Murder’ opens in a Brighton brothel with Victor planning the perfect murder. Events overtake him and it doesn’t go according to plan.

Jessie Wallace Kat Slater Alfie Moon Theatre Theater Murder Show Churchill Bromley
Jessie Wallace in The Perfect Murder – photo by Honeybunn Photography

As an IT manager for a paper products company making egg boxes, Victor is every bit as exciting as his CV suggests. And whilst he plots the, possibly imaginary, perfect murder of wife Joan with his detailed 53 point plan based on a forensic knowledge of Sherlock Holmes and other classic fictional detectives, his more spontaneous wife finds herself considering a similar plot against him. Her muse is an amorous taxi driver and her inspiration CSI Miami and similar ‘police procedurals’ – dismissed as ‘rubbish’ by Victor in their regular battle for the TV remote.

Whilst their relationship has become somewhat stale, the play is a bouncy delight. You’re never far from a comic put-down from one or other of the pair. And Act One concludes with a masterpiece of visual comedy – a moment of black comedy of which Hitchock would have been proud.

Shane Richie’s powerful personality could be in danger of eclipsing the rather more staid nature of Victor, but he holds character throughout whilst also winning support from the audience despite his philandering and murderous intent. Jessie Wallace starts more prim, proper and Sussex-middle-class than we are used to, but slips easily into more causal London diction as her ordered life unravels.

Simona Armstrong brings warmth and credibility to the role of prostitute Kamila Walcak. And it’s important she does as we have to believe in Kamila’s captivation of both Victor and Detective Roy Grace (Benjamin Wilkin, making the most of the human side of the character whilst also being every inch the insightful copper).

Ian Talbot’s pacey direction aided by an imaginative set from designer Michael Holt, combine with some particularly effective specially composed music by Laura Tisdall to have the audience in turn shocked, roaring with laughter and on the edge of their seats.

With a full house on a Monday night, The Perfect Murder is sure to bring excitement and intrigue to each town on its tour. The show runs at The Churchill Theatre, Bromley until 13th February 2016.

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