Building on the phenomenal decade long success of The Agatha Christie Company, which sold over two million tickets around the UK, comes a new thrilling chapter from “the King of the detective thriller” EDGAR WALLACE.
When Inspector Tanner is called in to investigate a ruthless murder at Mark’s Priory, the grand ancestral home of the Lebanon family, he quickly discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Showing at Belgrade Theatre in Coventry till Saturday, Lilith Hunt-Sheppard went over on opening night to catch the show for herself.
There is something about a good “who done it?” that I just can’t resist, in fact, they are very much a guilty pleasure of mine. Edgar Wallace started writing mystery novels before moving on to plays. One of his final plays was The Case of The Frightened Lady.
Set in the stately home of the Lebanon family, the show opens to the annual fancy dress ball. The champagne is flowing, everyone is dressed up in costumes and then……… a blood curdling scream rips through the house as Studd (Joshua Wichard) is found dead.
With more secrets than the average family, Lady Lebanon (Deborah Grant) obsessed with the family’s blood line and has no intention of the blood line stopping. She is every part the matriarch of the house and ensures that everyone obeys her orders.
Leading the murder investigation is chief Inspector Tanner (Gray O’Brien) a seasoned member of the police on a quest for the truth. Working the case alongside Detective Sergeant Totti (Oliver Phelps) making his stage debut after a prominent role in the Harry Potter franchise.
Not helping the tension already in the house is Lord Lebanon (Ben Nealon), son and heir to the estate. His lack of interest in taking a wife and constant yearning to be back in the Army in India has his mother at wits end. His constant battles with Dr Amersham (Philip Denis Lill) the family physician drive the whole house mad.
Also, under suspicion is each member of staff, which includes Lady Lebanon’s niece Isla Cran (April Pearson) who is set up as a suiter for Lord Lebanon although she has no intention of marrying the reluctant Lord.
As the detectives question all in the house including the staff it seems almost everyone may have had a motive for murder. The comedic touches from Lord Lebanon’s servant Gilder and Brook (Glenn Carter & Callum Coates) have the most sneaky and amusing way of just appearing out of nowhere. Then there’s the, not so happy, married couple Mrs Tilling (Rosie Thomson) & Tilling (Owen Oldroyd) adding to the house hostilities.
As more deaths take place, the police are left scratching their heads at who may be guilty.
Not to reveal who did it, I will say the play is clever with more twists and turns that country road. The cast is strong with a mix of seasoned and new performers to the stage and keep you guessing throughout.
As far as ‘who done it’s’ go, this a good one. Enjoyed by all with plenty of gasps from the audience as the twist and turns unfold.
The Case Of The Frightened Lady runs till Saturday at Belgrade Theatre, Coventry.