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For those of us who like their theatre live it’s nice to occasionally see a well-made thriller, and the good news is that to celebrate their seventieth year (!) in business the Players have managed to find a vintage Ian Clemens drama, an atmospheric chiller with just a hint of humour.
Edge of Darkness (great title) is naturally a mystery so I can’t tell you too much or you won’t want to go. Suffice it to say there’s money involved, and murky murder. The skill of course is in telling the tale and here’s where the Players score.
Making her full-length directorial debut for the Players Dawn Nicholson has mustered a robust cast of newcomers and regulars to instil subtle menace into this portrayal of an apparently straightforward turn of the century ménage in which not everything is as it seems.
Phil Shaw is delightfully assured as paterfamilias Max Cranwell whose laudanum-dispensing concern for his dear daughter seems somehow false. Gina Martin as his elegant wife Laura dimpled delightfully in her sensitive portrayal of a conflicted mother while Jen Austen as her daughter Emma effortlessly conveyed the amnesiac confusion at the heart of this clever plot.
Brian Asbury brought a balancing note of jaunty levity to the role of manservant Hardy while Stuart Goodwin impressed with a brooding intensity as the raffish Livago, doomed possessor of the mystery’s key.
But a special mention must go to Samantha Richards in the long and difficult part of Penny, maid of all work, not least for her dextrous handling of endless pieces of fragile china, cutlery and cake. Add in some excellent costumes and clever use of sound and you have a pleasing mixture just right for an enjoyably creepy night out.
Edge of Darkness runs until tomorrow (March 23 March). For tickets phone the box office on 01543 412121 or go online at www.lichfieldgarrick.com.
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