THIS play had been made into a film in the 1940s.
It has a strong story with an intriguing mystery within it. The tension builds up to a to strong climax so the 21st-century audience will find it as compelling as the cinemagoers of old.
Cleadon has produced many thrillers in the past, but rarely one so well done and so good to look at as this one. The costumes, the set and the music create a real feeling of those post-war years.
There are no defects in the cast. Every part is well played and the principal parts are very well played.
John Errington as the detective has just the right amount of world weariness that you would expect as a hard-bitten New York cop. But, he is a cop with a weakness that becomes part of the story. Stephen White acts the part of Waldo, a close friend of the deceased. He has a strong stage presence which allied to a powerful voice gives him a good contrast to the laconic detective. He dominates many scenes both physically and vocally.
The girl is played by Carole Machin and what a great job she makes of it. She is utterly convincing as the devious, sexy femme fatale. It’s very easy in the role to become a caricature and overact, but this Carole avoids with ease.
Mark Lamb is one of the newcomers to this drama group. He acts the part of the bereaved fiancé very well and shows no lack of confidence. Young Stephen White takes the part of Danny, the youngster who visits Laura. He makes a good job in this his first role here.
If there is weakness in the production, it is in the American accents, which are variable and spasmodic. As the play develops the audience soon ignores this minor fault.
Bill Dodds has done a rattling good job in directing the piece. It’s obvious he has had a vision of exactly what he wants in every aspect of developing the play, and very largely achieved that vision.
The audience leaves the theatre with the sense of having seen a very good performance of a good play.
Those people who are lucky enough to have tickets for this show need to know in advance just how much they are going to enjoy it; yes, it really is that good.