VIOLENCE, abduction and murder are some of the dark themes covered in thriller Run for Home, the stage adptation of Wearside author Sheila Quigley’s novel.
Brought to life by writer, director and actor Derek Lawson, the play has seen audiences flock to Houghton’s Zazz Performing Arts Academy.
The tension builds slowly following the kidnapping of two schoolgirls from the town, while the discovery of a body at nearby Fatfield has police chiefs DCI Lorraine Hunt (an excellent turn by Marie Westcott) and DS Luke Daniels (Noel Wilson) at a loose end.
Most of the cast are from the North West, but the majority have made a great effort to produce Mackem accents throughout the two-hour show.
Special praise has to go to angst-ridden Robbie Lumsdon, played by Michael Whittaker, trying to keep his family together after sister Claire gets abducted and his alcoholic and ailing mum Vanessa suffers a heart scare.
But what dark secrets is Vanessa hiding from her brood?
Clay Whitter is a real terror in his role, the true extent of his involvement in the crimes is only revealed late on.
Light relief is provided by Pat Brocklehust, who steals almost every scene she’s in.
Writer Derek admitted that he has to slightly tone down some of the, shall we say, industrial language that frequents Sheila’s books. But make no mistake, this is as gritty and close to real-life crime as it gets.
The production is tight considering there are about 30 different scene changes, with the cast and crew all mucking in at various points. Plans to create a TV version of Run for Home could have some legs on this evidence.