Dead Man’s Hand

Little Theatre, Sheringham

>Little Theatre, Sheringham

You get three for the price of two with the Summer Theatre Company's latest production: it's a thriller within a thriller, plus a parody of a thriller. There is much to admire, but if you like your whodunits straight down the spine, you might end up feeling short-changed in thrills.

Written and directed by Seymour Matthews, the play maroons a bunch of characters in a house miles from anywhere and anyone, without transport or phones, their fate apparently orchestrated by a mysterious tycoon whom no one has actually met. A dead fox is left on the doorstep, with the stark message: "Confess your sins and you will be saved." One of them is murdered, then another, and you grip the edge of your seat, preparing for more shivers and shocks . . . But the plot takes an unexpected turn and sets off on a more tortuous route towards the final denouement.

It's clever and intriguing, at times both teasing and tantalising, with fine ensemble performances from the cast of six. But the gap between the two thriller parts is too long and the self-mockery ends up getting in the way of any build-up of suspense. There is more fear and trembling in the second half, but it never quite hits a true note, evoking laughter from the audience, in spite of some convincing terror from Nick Wilkes and Elizabeth Scott.

t Continues until August 6

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