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Rehearsal for Murder - Milton Keynes Theatre

Published by: Alison Smith on 21st Jun 2016 | View all blogs by Alison Smith

Reviewed by Alison Smith

20th June 2016

Poster

The Classic Thriller Theatre has brought to the stage a clever, intriguing ‘whodunnit.’ The play was written by Richard Levinson and William Link as a 1982 TV movie, and adapted for the stage by David Rogers. The most striking aspect of Rehearsal for Murder is that it is a play within a play, a nested play (the rehearsal in the title is itself a misnomer). The story itself is straightforward. The playwright Alex Dennison (Alex Ferns) is heartbroken over the death of his fiancée and leading lady Monica Welles (Susie Amy). He is certain she did not take her own life, on the opening night of her stage debut, and is determined to discover who killed her. But the handling of the story is anything but straightforward. 

To unravel the truth, Dennison convenes the same cast and crew to read through a new play a year to the day of the death. The parallels between the new play and the real life situation are plain – even a similar, often muddled, name for the main protagonist. In flashbacks we are introduced to the characters who were present on that fateful night – the blonde starlet and her muscular lover, the sex-obsessed, ageing lothario, the money-obsessed producer – and, according to Dennison, they are all possible murder suspects. The dead leading-lady takes a main part in the unravelling of the mystery, appearing and disappearing into the darkness.

The set design is simple – a poorly furnished disused rehearsal room; the lighting of shadows and spotlights plays an important role in the play. Although these aspects add to the mystery of the play, it is the acting which kept the audience silent and enthralled to the final twist in the tale. Alex Ferns is excellent in his role of Alex Dennison, changing from organised and active to heart-broken and despairing in a few words; his cast, especially Susie Amy, Mark Wynter and Gwynfor Jones wittily personify theatre ‘types’.

Rehearsal for Murder is a well-written, well-performed murder mystery; the who and  why of the murder are ingenious and, I am certain, impossible for any audience to predict. 

Rehearsal for Murder is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 25th June

www.atgtickets.com

0844 871 7652

Booking fee applies

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