The Classic Thriller Season is upon us once again with its usual round up of murderous delights.
Kicking off this year is Francis Durbridge’s ‘Murder With Love’. And boy, is this typical Durbridge. Played out of two equally chintzy living rooms (thanks to Geoff Gilder’s ingenious split set), this is typically middle class and typically makes excellent use of the drinks cabinet. Most of the action occurs on the usual audience facing sofa, and is executed with the usual suave, mustached glamour.
Any Durbridge play is ultimately of a ‘certain’ taste and ‘Murder With Love’ is no exception; it is at times contrived and a lot of the twists and turns are painfully obvious, but fortunately, this performance succeeds in keeping the biggest secret under wraps and it is a pleasant surprise when you learn who-actually-dunit.
This is perhaps due to the excellently cast actors, who all provide classy performances. Durbridge’s often unnatural lines are delivered with the right blend of panache and cheeky wit. In particular, Samuel Clemens shines as lawyer David Ryder; his perfectly composed veneer is charmingly ruffled as soon as he steps out of his depth and into the world of chief suspect. Further, Clemens’s dulcet tones are juxtaposed effectively against the cockney twang of Rudd, a working class chancer played beautifully by Al Naed.
In all, this is a lighthearted bit of fun with a touch of suspense thrown in for good measure. And although it may not have the ‘dark and twisty’ quality that many desire of a good thriller, it is nevertheless immensely entertaining.
Murder With Love runs at Nottingham's Theatre Royal from Monday 2 to Saturday 7 August 2010
Also in the season:
Murdered to Death, 9 - 14 August
Anybody for Murder, 16 - 21 August
All About Murder, 23 - 28 August