Nottingham Theatre Royal
Play number three in the Colin McIntyre Thriller Season at the Nottingham Theatre Royal presented by Tabs Productions, and this is the one that I was most looking forward to as I do like a good Francis Durbridge thriller, and I was not disappointed!
More twists and turns than Blackpool Pleasure Beach and more red herrings than a fishmongers sale on herrings, this is one of Durbridge's most stylish of thrillers.
Set in the 1960's the whole atmosphere is of the era and is reminiscent of the old TV detective thrillers such as "Jason King", "The Avengers", Department S", well you get the idea.
There is murder, blackmail, deceit, cover ups, lies, a stabbing, it's all there to keep you on the edge of your seat and to keep you wondering who was behind the whole story. After all we know who carried out the murder, but it's the whole story behind the, albeit accidental murder, that is intriguing. I changed my mind twice trying to guess who was Mr, or Mrs Big behind the permanent eviction of Perry Kingsley.
Andrew Ryan, as Howard Mansfield, the husband of Joanna Mansfield and the one who tries to take the rap for the murder, is on stage for practically the whole play and is, again another completely different character from the previous two he has played this season. There are a lot of words for Andrew in this one and he doesn't miss a beat here. An excellent performance!
Susan Earnshaw is Joanna, the wife who is, to start with a little frugal with the truth, and if you don't know this story, will be surprised at why the snowball she causes escalated to the fatal end to Mr Kingsley, played by the lovely Adrian Lloyd-James, and the reason why he was where he was at the time of his demise.
A great supporting cast, as usual, deliver this truly excellent thriller, and in my humble opinion, the best to date this season, and I loved "The Ghost Train", then again I love Durbridge's writing style. But it does take a great cast to bring the words on the paper alive. Durbridge and Tabs Productions what a joyful combination!
Karen Henson directs"Fatal Encounter" and while we have had to wait for a couple of weeks for this season's directorial debut from Karen, it was well worth the wait; very stylish.
A nice touch for the scene changes with total blackout and classic murder mystery incidental music as well keeps the suspense high. So a nod to Michael Donoghue for the lighting design and to David Gilbrook for the sound.
"Fatal Encounter" is at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 16th August 2014