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A Judgement in Stone @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

Published by: Yvonne Delahaye on 31st May 2017 | View all blogs by Yvonne Delahaye

A Judgement in Stone Tickets at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

As a jobbing actor I know only too well that to be able to keep working in the business is extremely tough, particularly for middle-aged women when the unemployment rate is 95%!  The balance of male to female roles is about 3 to 1, so to find a play with several good roles for women is rare. Building on the phenomenal decade-long success of The Agatha Christie Theatre Company, Bill Kenwright’s new  company The Classic Thriller Theatre Company, seeks to redress the balance with a new production adapted from one of the most celebrated works of the writer often hailed as the successor to Agatha Christie, Ruth Rendell’s A Judgement In Stone.

Rendell was first published in 1964 and was awarded a CBE in 1996. Her prolific output included film and TV as well as 80 novels and one of the genre’s most famous characters, Chief Inspector Wexford. Widely considered to be one of Rendell’s greatest works, A Judgement in Stone is loved for its brilliant rendering of character, plot and motive, and is undoubtedly Rendell at her thrilling best.

Featuring an all star cast, Sophie Ward (Young Sherlock Holmes; Heartbeat) stars as Eunice Parchman who struggles to fit in. When she joins a wealthy family as their housekeeper the very reason for her awkwardness, long hidden and deeply buried, leads inexorably to a terrible tale of murder in cold blood - on Valentine’s Day. Ruth Rendell’s brilliant plot unravels a lifetime of deceit, despair and cover-ups which, when revealed, brings a shocking revelation almost as ghastly as murder itself.

Attempting to solve the crime is Andrew Lancel (Coronation Street; The Bill), as Detective Superintendent Vetch, ably accompanied by Ben Nealon as Detective Sergeant Challoner, who gives a convincing performance as the observant side-kick.  Former 60s pop idol Mark Wynter plays the pompous George Coverdale, married to his second wife, Jacqueline (Rosie Thomson), who, with the two youngsters Giles (Joshua Price) and Melinda (Jennifer Sims), all meet a gruesome end.

The play opens with the arrival of the detectives, then features flashbacks as we meet all the characters in the days leading up to the crime.  There are lots of cross-over entrances and exits, which can be hard to follow at times, but generally it works.  Suspects Deborah Grant (Not Going Out; Bergarac) is very energetic as the bible-bashing Joan Smith, with Blue band-mate Antony Costa ‘givin’ it large’ as the ex-criminal gardener and Shirley Anne Field (The Entertainer; Saturday Night Sunday Morning) as the elderly cleaner usurped by the arrival of the new housekeeper.

The production is directed by Roy Marsden who is best known as an actor, particularly in his role as Commander Adam Dalgliesh in Anglia TV's P.D. James series, which he played for 15 years. His recent work for Bill Kenwright includes directing a UK tour of Susan Hill’s The Small Hand and the debut production for The Classic Thriller Theatre Company, Rehearsal For Murder.

If you enjoy a good ‘Whodunnit’ featuring actors you know, then this may appeal to you.  Personally, I found the play a bit too melodramatic at times, but to give Bill Kenwright his due he really does keep a lot of actors employed and continues to give audiences choices.

Performances at The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury:       

Tue 30 May – Sat 3 Jun

                                        Tue – Sat eves 7.30pm, Wed, Thu & Sat mats 2.30pm

Box Office:                         0844 871 7607 (Bkg fee. Calls 7p per min plus phone company’s access charge)

Groups Hotline:               0844 871 7614

Access Booking:               0844 871 7677 (Bkg fee)

Online Booking:      (Bkg fee)



Mon 5 – Sat 10 June                                                                          

Palace Theatre, Southend                                                                 


Mon 12 – Sat 17 June                                                                        

Derby Theatre, Derby                                                                       

Mon 19 – Sat 24 June                                                                        

Theatre Royal, Glasgow      


Mon 26 June – Sat 1 July                                                                   

New Victoria Theatre, Woking                                                          

Mon 3 – Sat 8 July                                                                               

Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton


Mon 10 – Sat 15 July                                                                          

Harrogate Theatre, Harrogate                                                          

Mon 17 – Sat 22 July                                                         

Regent Theatre, Stoke                                                                       


Mon 24 – Sat 29 July                                                                         

Milton Keynes Theatre, Milton Keynes                                           

Mon 31 July – Sat 5 August                                                               

Theatre Royal, Newcastle                                                                  


Tues 19 – Sat 23 September                                                             

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry                                                              


Mon 25 – Sat 30 September                                                             

Orchard Theatre, Dartford                                                                


Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye





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