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Rehearsal for Murder at the Theatre Royal Windsor

Published by: Clare Brotherwood on 13th Jan 2016 | View all blogs by Clare Brotherwood


When I discovered that Agatha Christie had been sidelined for ‘classic thrillers’, I was disappointed.

The Queen of Crime is a difficult act to follow and producer Bill Kenwright’s Agatha Christie Theatre Company has sold over two million tickets during its 10-year tenure.

But Kenwright’s new Classic Thriller Theatre Company, which made its debut at Windsor’s Theatre Royal this week, couldn’t have got off to a better start.

Rehearsal for Murder, written by Richard Levinson and William Link, the men behind Columbo and Murder She Wrote, is a tremendously satisfying mystery chock full of my favourite things: It is set in a theatre - tick; it features a wonderful assortment of characters - tick; it has a good balance of humorous and hair-raising moments - tick. But most of all it is a cracking good yarn full of surprises, a complex plot through which director Roy Marsden skillfully guides his cast.

The action takes place in 1989 and opens in a West End theatre where, a year to the day, Alex Dennison’s latest play had opened to mixed reviews. A few hours later the leading lady and Dennison’s bride-to-be, movie star Monica Welles, had fallen to her death - but was it suicide or murder?

As Dennison and Welles, Rehearsal for Murder brings together again Robert Daws and Amy Robbins, who both starred in eight series of The Royal on ITV. Daws is almost frightening in his character’s passion to get to the truth. His emotion is palpable, especially in the closing scene, but, sadly, Robbins lacks the bearing of a movie star.

Susan Penhaligon undoubtedly steals the show as the affected producer Bella Lamb, closely followed by Robert Duncan as leading luvvie David Mathews. Lucy Dixon does a good job of reinventing herself from northern mouse to acerbic vamp in her role as young actress Karen Daniels, and Holly Ellis adds freshness in her almost comic performance as Dennison’s new and inexperienced assistant Sally.

This play within a play is fascinating stuff. On opening night it did drag a little in the first act but, nevertheless, it continued to sweep me along to I knew not where until the very end. But as they say on Through the Keyhole, the clues are there!

Well worth seeing.


Rehearsal for Murder is at the Theatre Royal Windsor until January 16.

Box office: 01753 853888


It then tours:

Jan 25-30: Malvern Theatre

Feb 2-6: Cardiff New Theatre

Feb 8-13: Richmond Theatre

Feb 15-20: Regent Theatre Stoke

Feb 22-27: Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

Mar 21-26: Kings Theatre, Edinburgh


1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 2 years ago
    Thanks, Clare. Sounds like it ticks all the right boxes.
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