1-5 April 2014
Reviewed by Rachel Osbourne
The Perfect Murder is an adaptation of the Peter James book of the same name, starring Les Dennis and Claire Goose, as Victor and Joan Smiley, married for 20 years (at least she remembered!) but both equally disillusioned by their marriage and neither can stand being in the others company. Victor, who seems to be obsessed with old school murder mysteries has been fantasising about how he can free himself for at least the last 6 years, has a long term plan to disappear with a large insurance payout and his new love interest. However, a change in circumstances inspires him to set the wheels of this plan in motion. Little did he know he wasn’t the only one with a plan for a better life…
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the character of Victor was superbly played by Les Dennis with just the right combination of straight and comedy acting. However, although all of the cast played their parts brilliantly, for me Clare Goose stole the show with her interaction with both Victor and the non cockney-cockney geezer Don Kirk (Gray O’Brian), who was absolutely hilarious. Steven Millar was excellent playing a young Detective Constable Roy Grace, and although I sometimes didn’t quite catch everything that Kamila Walcak (played by Simona Armstrong) said, because of the strong accent, this wasn’t to the detriment of the story.
The set was very cleverly designed so that with just some clever lighting, there didn’t have to be any physical set changes, which I thought let the play flow better.
I had purposely not read about the play before I went, as I like to see shows for the first time completely fresh if possible. Because of this and because I am a fan of the Roy Grace books, I wasn’t expecting the amount of humour and proper laugh out loud moments. Without giving away any spoilers, the duct tape part still has me chuckling, I’d love to see the show later in the run to see just how far it will go!
Milton Keynes Theatre itself is well situated just across from the main shopping centre and surrounded by a good selection of restaurants and bars. There is plentiful parking which is free after 6pm. It is very modern look, and even with a pretty much sold out show, felt spacious and you didn’t feel crowded like you do in some theatres. There were plenty of staff who were all well presented, polite and helpful. It is served by a good number of bars and kiosks within the theatre, including the new Piano Bar in which we enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere both before the show and during the interval.
I would certainly go and see this play again, and would definitely re-visit the Milton Keynes Theatre for future shows.
Tickets cost from £11.90 to £37.90 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 871 7652.
Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Central Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK9 3NZ