Latest Review – Rehearsal for Murder [Opera House, Manchester] [UK Tour]


Opera House, Manchester

Until Saturday 15th October, 2016

Penned by the acclaimed writing duo behind the likes of Columbo, Ellery Queen and Murder, She Wrote, Richard Levinson and William Link’s 1982 television film Rehearsal for Murder has now been brilliantly reworked for the stage courtesy of playwright David Rogers, and marks an excellent first chapter for the newly labelled Classic Thriller Theatre Company, following a decade of solid productions under the Agatha Christie Theatre Company banner.

One year on from the death of Hollywood starlet and West End leading lady Monica Welles, playwright Alex Dennison reassembles the play’s cast and crew on the anniversary of the ill-fated night to read through and workshop his unique new play, all in a sly attempt to uncover the truth behind the mysterious death of his fiancée.

If that brief synopsis evokes strong memories of Hamlet’s devious attempts to ‘catch the conscience of the King’ and re-stage the murder of his father in front of a guilty King Claudius then it is not without good reason. Levinson and Link have unashamedly taken inspiration from Shakespeare’s infamous concept and reference the ‘Mousetrap’ portion of the play on numerous occasions.

Set entirely within the dimly lit confines of an unidentified London playhouse, Rehearsal for Murder cleverly takes the play-within-a-play format as a starting point, but interestingly reworks and twists it in an array of increasingly intriguing directions until the impossible-to-predict twist eventually comes to light.

As with any show review of this type there is always a difficulty in ensuring that no major plot details are given away, though brilliantly staged, solidly performed and utterly satisfying in its ultimate conclusion, even the most demanding murder mystery enthusiast couldn’t fail to be impressed by what proves a very slick, traditional and thoroughly engrossing mystery thriller.

A fine ensemble cast of familiar television faces and experienced staged performers – led by a superb central performance from Alex Ferns as Dennison – do full justice to Rogers’ adapted text, expertly navigating the numerous plot turns and keeping the audience on their toes right through to the fulfilling twist finale.

Running Time: 1 hour and 55 minutes (approx.), including one 20-minute interval.

For more information, and to book tickets, please Click Here.

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