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Anybody for Murder

Harry Gostelow and Sarah Ogley in Anybody For Murder? at St Edmunds Hall, Southwold. Photo: Stephen Wolfenden Harry Gostelow and Sarah Ogley in Anybody For Murder? at St Edmunds Hall, Southwold. Photo: Stephen Wolfenden
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This comic thriller from the writers of TV’s Avengers would probably have a hard time muscling its way into the programme of a West End or regional theatre but for holiday audiences it provides a tart and tasty summer confection.

The plot may be ludicrous – it’s essentially farce with repeated poisonings and stranglings – but director Ron Aldridge makes sure everyone plays it straight and the show rockets along before you can pick holes in the narrative.

Rikki Lawton, as the duplicitous Max Harrington, pulled off the equivalent of a theatrical conjuring trick by making the audience root for the villain of the piece. He also provided boundless energy which propelled the production along.

Everything was played with a commendably light touch. Clive Flint’s drunken author Edgar Chambers was nicely grounded while Harry Gostelow charmed his way into the audience’s affections as the dim-witted lawyer George Ticklewell.

The other member of the cast was Maurice Rubens’ beautiful set. Rubens created a Greek villa which looked real, helped by the subtle, not overplayed set-dressing, and provided director and cast opportunities to play the action on different levels while also offering the requisite multiple doors to dash in and out of.

Outrageous plays are hard to pull off because the very outlandishness of the plot constantly reminds the audience that what they are seeing isn’t real. Ron Aldridge and his team not only made the audience laugh, they made them care and kept them guessing until the end.

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Verdict
Farcical comic thriller that keeps the audience guessing until the end
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