REVIEW: The Perfect Murder, Theatre Royal, Newcastle, Until February 27

Jessie Wallace and Shane Richie in The Perfect Murder at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle.
Jessie Wallace and Shane Richie in The Perfect Murder at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle.
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Is there really such a thing as a perfect murder?

The stage adaptation of Peter James’ best-selling novel The Perfect Murder asks that very question.

EastEnders stars Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace star on stage together for the first time as unhappily-married couple Victor and Joan Smiley.

Unbeknown to her, Victor took out a life insurance policy on Joan six years ago and has been quietly plotting her murder.

He’s got it all planned out and thinks he’s come up with a plan for the flawless crime – what could possibly go wrong?

For months he’s been sleeping with Croatian prostitute Kamila Walcak (Simona Armstrong). He confides in her about his plan and tells her he’s going to take the money and whisk her away to a better life.

Jessie Wallace in The Perfect Murder at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle.

Jessie Wallace in The Perfect Murder at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle.

Meanwhile, Joan is having an affair with taxi driver Don Kirk (Stephen Fletcher) and Detective Constable Roy Grace (Benjamin Wilkin) is utilising Kamila’s psychic gift to locate the bodies of murder victims.

I really don’t want to tell you anything more about the story, because I don’t want to give anything away and ruin the surprise.

The show has more twists and turns than the most exciting fairground ride you’ve ever been on, but it’s also wickedly-funny.

The dark comedy will make you laugh out loud, jump out of your skin and gasp in horror.

Jessie Wallace and Shane Richie in The Perfect Murder at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle.

Jessie Wallace and Shane Richie in The Perfect Murder at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle.

Richie and Wallace are incredible. The way they snap at each other and argue incessantly had everyone laughing hysterically, but probably also struck a chord with a few people.

Their relationship was very realistic, from their sly digs and him forgetting their anniversary to their not-so-quiet resentment of each other, it was very believable that they’d simply fallen out of love after 20 years together.

Fletcher’s character’s repetitive use of Cockney rhyming slang was hilarious and Armstrong was brilliant.

Wilkin brought another element to the show as the strong but understanding detective.

I saw the adaptation of another of James’ novels, Dead Simple, at the Theatre Royal last year and was utterly blown away by it.

Last night’s show was no different. The Perfect Murder made me cackle, cringe and gasp – it was absolutely brilliant.

It’s the perfect show for crime drama fans who like a good laugh.

The Perfect Murder runs until Saturday, February 27. Click here to book tickets.

Twitter: @vickinewmanjp