THE old-fashioned typewriter on the cover of the programme is mirrored by the one on the set. It sits, trapping a single piece of paper, which ominously awaits the hammer of keys. It’s a clue. But then Rehearsal for Murder is a Whodunnit?
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The King’s, Leven Street
As for pointing a finger at the guilty party, however, the typewriter is a red herring. Rather, it’s a clue to the identity of the play’s writers, Richard Levinson and William Link, creators of Murder, She Wrote (that’s where the type-writer comes in) and Columbo.
As in the weekly episodes of those series, a homicide has been perpetrated in Rehearsal For Murder.
Heartbroken after the apparent suicide of his fiancé, actress Monica Welles, after a less than successful opening night, playwright Alex Dennison suspects murder most foul - the pair were due to marry the following day.
So, on the first anniversary of Monica’s death, he gathers the cast and crew of that show in the very theatre they had appeared one year before on the pretext of having a reading of his new play.
As the read through progresses, it soon becomes clear Alex is attempting to entrap he killer...
With a cast of TV stars from series as diverse as The Royal, Drop The Dead Donkey, Bouquet of Barbed Wire, Hollyoaks, Brookside and Soldier, Soldier, producer Bill Kenwright has assembled a unusually strong line-up to bring the inaugural production of his new Classic Thriller Company to the stage.
Husband and wife team Robert Daws and Amy Robbins boast ideal chemistry as theatrical lovers, Daws driving the piece impressively and seldom off stage.
Robert Duncan meanwhile, is gloriously bumptious as the company’s leading man, while Susan Pehaligon, as producer Bella Lamb, times her killer quips with aplomb.
Ben Nealon, Steven Pinder and Lucy Dixon all offer robust support. While the script twists and turns then turns and twists, all are better than the material they work with, despite this, the final revelation remains unexpected and strangely satisfying.