REVIEW: Dead Simple, Theatre Royal, Newcastle, Until May 30

Dead Simple at Newcastle's Theatre Royal. Jamie Lomas as Michael Harrison on a stag night gone wrong.

Dead Simple at Newcastle's Theatre Royal. Jamie Lomas as Michael Harrison on a stag night gone wrong.

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Acting the amateur sleuth is always the fun thing about watching a crime drama – but you’ll never figure this one out.

Dead Simple, adapted from the novel by Peter James, will outsmart you at every single turn.

The play sees Michael Harrison (Jamie Lomas) preparing for his stag do ahead of his impending nuptials to Ashley Harper (Tina Hobley).

His best friend, Mark Warren (Rik Makarem), has promised that no funny business is going down, despite Michael being responsible for a number of stag night pranks himself.

But that’s not entirely true and the pals decide to bury him alive.

When things go wrong, Detective Superintendant Roy Grace (Gray O’Brien) and Detective Sergeant Branson (Marc Small) find themselves in a race against time to find him before it’s too late.

Meanwhile, Ashley’s uncle Bradley Cunningham (Michael McKell) has travelled from Canada for the wedding and Det Supt Grace has fallen under the scrutiny of the press by seeking the help of psychic Zoe Frame (Sarah Baxendale).

The story is absolutely gripping. I haven’t read the book, but I can image it being of the unputdownable variety, and this was whatever the theatrical version of that is.

I was literally on the edge of my seat, desperate for the story to unfold so I could find out the answers.

The cast of soap stars were truly incredible.

Jamie Lomas as Michael Harrison.

Jamie Lomas as Michael Harrison.

Lomas in particular was marvellous. He spends a large part of the show buried and relatively unseen by the audience, but the sheer panic and desperation in his voice was incredibly powerful.

His fate is left in the hands of simple-minded Davey Wheeler (Josh Brown) who is often lost in an imaginary world of cops and bad guys.

Brown’s performance was outstanding and his character’s vulnerability was alluring and lovable.

The tension is unbearable and I was left panic-stricken and intolerably worried about Michael.

The tension is unbearable and I was left panic-stricken and intolerably worried about Michael.

But that’s not all the show has, it’s also wickedly funny.

The staging was brilliant as well, with it split down the middle, allowing the audience to jump to and from different locations with ease.

The show is compelling, tense, funny, and simply irresistible.

Unless you’ve read the book, you’ll never work out what’s going on.

Knowing what you’ll make of this play is dead simple – you’ll love it.

Dead Simple runs at the Theatre Royal until Saturday, May 30. Click here to book tickets.

Gray O'Brien as Detective Roy Grace and Tina Hobley as Ashley.

Gray O'Brien as Detective Roy Grace and Tina Hobley as Ashley.

Twitter: @vickinewmanjp

Jamie Lomas as Michael Harrison and Tina Hobley as Ashley.

Jamie Lomas as Michael Harrison and Tina Hobley as Ashley.