Death by Fatal Murder is the third in Peter Gordon’s Inspector Pratt trilogy, which also includes Murdered to Death (see last year’s review).
The action takes place entirely in one room of the west wing of a certain Bagshot house, a home of modest grandeur, with intricate 1940s details mirrored in both props and costumes.
The audience see Inspector Pratt return to Bagshot house, where further mysterious ‘goings ons’ have been afoot, with a missing policeman, a questionable welsh ‘lady’ and the arrival of an unexpected guest.
Assisted in his investigations by Constable Tomkins (or Atkins, or Thomson – depending on Pratt’s vernacular) and the Miss Marple/Jessica Fletcher character of Miss Maple, Pratt must get to the bottom of the missing police officer.
A spoof murder mystery in every sense of the word, Death by Fatal Murder provides the audience with an evening of innuendo, hilariously hammy accents brought together with impecable comic timing.
Nicholas Briggs was fantastic as Inspector Pratt, his blundering Basil Fawlty style and quick delivery ensured the cast and the audience were kept on their toes. Jo Castleton, playing Ginny Farquhar, never came out of character and it was still a joy to watch her in scenes where she wasn’t part of the main action; her facial expressions, mannerisms and impromptu guffaws added a nice unobvious comedy to the play.
This is a whole cast whose chemistry is spot on, they're all old friends, and even the odd fluffed line didn’t take away from the performance. An amusing evening for all involved - Death by Fatal Murder - does exactly what it says on the tin.
Death by Fatal Murder runs from Monday 11 to Saturday 16 June at Nottingham's Theatre Royal.