Murder by Misadventure

CHRISTOPHER SMITH Southwold Summer Theatre

CHRISTOPHER SMITH

Maurice Reubens sets are a symbol of Jill Freud & Company's Seaside Summer Theatre. Constructed with sterling craftsmanship, they are always reliably dove-tailed and reassuringly solid. The same might be said of Murder By Misadventure.

For a while, though, Edward Taylor's comedy thriller is more like flat-pack furniture than stage carpentry. We are shown the plan, not once but a couple of times, and the components are spread out before us. The problem we share with the characters is getting them to fit together. We can try them this way, then that but they won't stand up. At the end it takes a couple of screws to do the trick, but even they take some twisting.

The situation is a luxury flat overlooking the sea and the characters are TV crime writers. They ought to be able to fix things but they soon run into problems when they try to bring their plots to life – or rather death. As middle-aged Harold, Hugh Hayes has his confidence punctured, while Richard Gibson goes just far enough over the top as his hard drinking but more imaginative associate. Moir Leslie adds a welcome feminine touch, and Simon Snashall knows just how to make the most of his role as the inspector with aces up his sleeve.

At the end everything slips into place.

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