Tuesday, 2 August 2016

"House Guest" by Francis Durbridge
Nottingham Theatre Royal.
Week number two of the Colin McIntyre Classic thriller Season 2016 performed by Tabs Productions and while last week I said that "Arsenic & Old Lace" was not really a thriller, this most definitely is!
Robert Drury (Jeremy Lloyd Thomas) is a famous actor and had returned from Italy where he and his wife, Stella (Angie Smith) learn that their son, Mike, has been kidnapped - not for ransom, but to force them to allow one of the kidnappers to remain in their house for 48 hours. Two other men, supposedly police officers, arrive and reveal that one of the kidnappers has been murdered. Soon, however, it is clear that these two are far from what they seem.
"House Guest" is one of those plays that has a great deal of twists, and just when you think you've worked out who did what.....well something happens that makes you change your mind. I certainly didn't guess what the outcome would be!
Vivienne Norwood (Anna Mitcham),Jane Mercer (Sarah Wynne Kordas), Crozier (Michael Sherwin), Inspector Burford (David Gilbrook), Sergeant Clayton (Robert Durbin), Dorothy Medway (Susan Earnshaw) and Phillip Henderson (Jerome Dothmaslyly- I see what you did there JLT) are all in the frame at one time or another. Such is the complexity of the storyline, any one of the above could have been involved. Something that Durbridge is ace at doing, casting possible shadows over all and making you suspicious of any one character.
Set in the 1970's the set itself, designed by Sarah Wynne Kordas, had a proper retro feel with the decor, plant arrangements and ring tone slimphone plus some classic 70's costumes and wigs (Geoff Gilder). i felt right at home! Again this is something that Tabs Productions always manage to get just spot on, every time.
Thrillers are synonymous with phones and doorbells and there are plenty of both here as well as tension and mystery and the
underdog/s rising to the top. Pace is always important and this is another box that is well and truly ticked. All of the above the responsibility of the director, and with Andrew Ryan at the directorial helm, you can't really go wrong.
Yet again an absolutely classic, as well as classy, night of excellent entertainment for anyone who likes to exercise their sleuthing muscles, or to just being entertained by one of the best group of actors and combined theatrical talent you'll see. Oh and please be warned, there are a couple of places where you will jump!
Great to see a packed house as well, but that's one mystery we don't need to solve when the acting and the choices of plays are as good as we have the pleasure and fortune to behold year on year.
"House Guest" by Tabs Productions is on at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 6 August 2016. Do not miss out on this!

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