Grip your Seat – Rehearsal for Murder Will Take you on a Thrilling Ride!
A brilliantly traditional thriller with a surprise ending is a great way to launch a theatre company, and that is exactly what The Classic Thriller Theatre Company has done in bringing ‘Rehearsal for Murder’ to Blackpool’s Grand Theatre.
Even if you consider yourself the most diligent of sleuths, we’d bet on you not guessing the culprit in this production!
As one of Britain’s most beloved theatre producers, Bill Kenwright presents a new production of the 1982 mystery thriller film from the genius of award-winning writing team Levinson and Link, who created Murder, She Wrote and Columbo.
One year on from the tragic evening when a famous film actress Monica Wells allegedly commits suicide following bad reviews on the opening night of a new play, her playwright fiancé Alex Dennison suspects that she has, in fact, been murdered.
Seven suspects are confined to the theatre where the show started a year ago under the pretence that they are meeting to discuss Alex Dennison’s new production. When we sat down in the theatre, we fully expected the production to follow the same format as many onstage whodunits – the cast being bumped off one-by-one. Without spoiling too much, that’s not really the case!
The original cast of Alex’s play gather for a read-through of his new play ‘Killing Jessica’. Everyone is made very uncomfortable with the situation, because the script’s similarity to possible events surrounding Monica’s death cut close to the bone – many of them have reasonable motives to have murdered her.
Alex tells the cast to pretend they’re acting with Monica, and there are some really seamless transitions where Monica takes to the stage to act the scene with a dream-like quality.
Alex Ferns as Alex Dennison is incredibly strong, and we see some of the mania coming through that chilled us all so much during his time as abusive Trevor in Eastenders many years ago. Alex Ferns manages to maintain an air calm for the majority of the script which is highly unnerving. He also deserves to be commended for his masterful method of learning a script. He manages to recite his incredible amount of lines with ease, and it was very impressive to watch.
There’s well-timed, tongue-in-cheek humour with some playful digs at theatre goers, critics, and traditional thriller formats.
The mystery genre does not transfer easily to the stage, but this production translates beautifully. The set is really sophisticated, and the use of lighting is instrumental in highlighting flashbacks and contributing to the uneasy atmosphere.
It might be a little mild side for a more seasoned thriller fan, but despite its gentle pace, it has a jaw-dropping conclusion. We didn’t think for a minute that events would transpire as they did, and the ending was incredibly satisfying. We’re very excited to see what Bill Kenwright will tantalise with us next!
The show is on tonight, tomorrow and Friday – to buy tickets and be taken on a thrilling ride, click here!