Saturday, February 21, 2009


Writtle Cards


Wagers were laid in the interval. Who “fixed the brake pipes” ["cut", not "mended"] and caused a fatal accident ? We knew it couldn't be the mysterious, menacing visitor, played by Nick Caton in an effectively sustained performance. Perhaps not the only way to play this enigmatic stalker [he's described as “very friendly”], but powerfully done, with commendable stillness and control.

Could it be Paula, confused by the multiple motives and endless mind games [Sarah Wilson] ? Instead of showing Frank the satisfyingly solid door, she mixes him a drink, encourages him to smoke, and only after he's downed three generous vodkas does she make up her mind to call the police. Or hubby James [Lee Barnes, with some scary shouting], pianist daughter Susan [Laura Bennett] ?

The victim, Paula's not-so-secret lover, was Neil Smith, who had two reactions, awkward and rabbit-in-the-headlights.

The capacity house for this Derek Benfield thriller from the early 80s, directed by Michele Moody, was asked to believe that these characters, talking too much and drinking too much, inhabited the 21st century. But this was an age before GCSEs and, more crucially, before mobile phones. The final twist was clever, but a long time coming. The tension might have built better with a tab curtain, and a tighter grasp of the words.

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