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Zoe Lister (Joy) and Michael Lumsden (Max) in Killjoy by Douglas McFerran. Photo: Geraint Lewis Zoe Lister (Joy) and Michael Lumsden (Max) in Killjoy by Douglas McFerran. Photo: Geraint Lewis

Max Bentley is a well-respected veteran actor with the title role in a television detective series which is about to be axed. Take this as the main motive, add the fact that he is in debt and easily distracted by the opposite sex, and there we have the foundations of writer Douglas McFerran’s plot to this world premiere.

Michael Lumsden is faultlessly cast as Bentley, a licentious silver fox who has always had women falling for him. Lumsden is casually natural in the role, easily managing the balance of dramatic irony, comedy and murderous panic.

The rest of the cast appear overly melodramatic in the first half but, as the characters develop, their histrionics become more justified and the plot progresses with several surprising twists and turns that lead to a satisfying conclusion.

There are some light-hearted comedic lines which the cast deliver sharply and the premeditated murders are exaggerated within the boundaries of sensationalism, bringing the play very much into the “comedy thriller” genre.

Of the remaining cast, Jessica Claire is the psychotic journalist Rosie Reed, Sarah Berger plays Max’s pot-smoking hippy wife Hermione, Zoe Lister is the perfidious Joy Pendleton and Simon Naylor portrays the undercover detective Josh Vivian.

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New world premiere has all the requisite ingredients of an entertaining comedy thriller