Not Dead Enough at the Royal & Derngate Northampton Review

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Reviewed by Michelle Llabani

It was with an air of anticipation that we walked up the hill, past the new Premier Inn which would be ideal for a “theatre break stay”, to enter the Derngate for the opening night of
Peter James’ Not Dead Enough.

Most of the recent performances we have seen were musically based but this time we would be watching an adaptation of a book from a very popular crime series, and who doesn’t like a ‘whodunnit’?

Peter James is a dedicated writer who takes research for his books equally seriously and creates believable, sustainable characters that have been adapted well to be performed on stage.

The programme set the scene of the action as taking place between the “Brighton and Hove police station and the mortuary April 2016” and led to an expectation of many scene changes however the set was unusually crafted so that the audience could view the activities at the mortuary and two rooms at the police station simultaneously which added to the suspense. By the simple addition of sea sounds and early morning mist a meeting place was created whilst the lighting and sound continually created atmosphere and tension throughout the play. It all worked very well and the entire creative team are to be congratulated.

The opening few minutes were a little stilted however the small cast quickly settled and led by Bill Ward, Laura Whitmore and Stephen Billington, ably supported, in particular, by Michael Quartey and Gemma Atkins brought about a talented and extremely accomplished tense psychological thriller of the kind more often seen on TV or in films. There were a few scary moments, ‘red herrings’, clues, and plenty of twists to the plot, as would be expected, for the audience to try to deduce the who, why and how?

The evening proved to be a resounding success including a refreshing drink in the welcoming John Franklin’s to sustain us through the second half of the play where we were kept on edge until the final scene and the grand denouement.

Rating: 5/5

Tickets cost from £15 to £33 (booking fees may apply).

Peter James’ Not Dead Enough is at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton from 2-6 May 2017, for more information or to book tickets visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk or call the box office on 01604 624811.

Royal & Derngate, Guildhall Road, Northampton, NN1 1DP | 01604 624811

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