At the heart of this play is a neatly constructed mystery penned by Frederick Knott, of Dial M For Murder fame. In the hands of the newly-formed Suffolk Summer Theatres, successor to The Jill Freud Company in the wake of Freud’s retirement from management, this heart was in need of a shot or two of adrenalin.
Mark Jackson and Kate Middleton in Write Me A Murder at St Edmund's Hall, Southwold Photo: Stephen Wolfenden
Few in the audience couldn’t have questioned their decision to opt for Write Me A Murder over the London 2012 opening ceremony. Apparently that had thrills, suspense and comedy. Save for a few moments, this was rather lacking in all three, which had less to do with the acting and more to do with a certain hesitancy in the direction. The pacing seemed off-kilter and where evocative music or lighting - even just a suggestive glance to the audience - could have been used to create or prolong an atmosphere, instead we got ineffectual pauses.
The lack of frisson should not deflect from some decent performances, in particular Mark Jackson as David Rodingham, a thriller writer who concocts the (near) perfect crime to ensure that the family home, sold by his elder brother Clive (Jonny McPherson) on the death of their father, stays in his hands. Jackson shifted from genial maverick to cunning murderer with assured subtlety. McPherson did a nice line in louche and Simon Snashall, as greasy property developer Charles Sturrock, was also a powerful presence, injecting the performance with some much-needed aggression.
Beyond that it was not so much a Whodunnit? as a Whatwasthatallabout?