The Mayflower, Southampton – until 11 March
Guest reviewer: Sarah Miatt
Not Dead Enough is the third novel in established crime writer Peter James series involving DS Roy Grace. Being obsessed with crime drama, I was interested to see how something that would usually be a six part television series would adapt to the stage. I was surprised and delighted to find that the answer was incredibly well. The sophisticated plot translated very well to the stage and the audience were gripped from the off and kept guessing until the very end.
The use of set was quite frankly, brilliant and required no set change at all which, considering how many scenes there were and how often the scene shifted from place to place was astounding. The coroner’s office was perfect, looking exactly like a scene from “Silent Witness”. The smoke effect from the fridges was particularly effective. It was a police incident room which took the forefront of stage right with the interview room to stage left. This meant the space in between was very believable being used by the actors as two-way glass.
It was the lighting designers who had their work cut out for them in this play, as the light changes were, in effect, the set changes. Whichever part of the stage was the focal point was lit, whilst the other areas were darkened. On the most part this worked very well, particularly using a line of overhead lights to represent street lights. However on occasion there were black spots on stage where action was happening. This meant at times the actors were almost obscured from view while saying their lines.
Shane Richie was an extremely strong presence as DS Roy Grace. Richie proving once again that not only is he a talented entertainer but also a very fine actor. He was naturally funny in the, surprisingly humorous sections. But equally convincing in the serious bits and especially convincing when interviewing the suspect.
In her professional theatre debut, Laura Whitmore was a natural on the stage and very believable as the sassy, independent pathologist Cleo Morey. She was particularly convincing whilst acting terrified when her life was threatened.
Stephen Billington as chief suspect, Brian Bishop was brilliant with his personality changing from grieving to menacing in the wink of an eye keeping the audience on its toes the whole way through. Whilst Michael Quartey as Glenn Branson was a perfect sidekick to Shane Richie’s character. They were supported by a very strong cast.
This play was extremely watchable and enjoyable and had me hooked from beginning to end. It certainly left me wanting to reach for the next novel in the series of books and I wouldn’t hesitate to watch again.