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A Perfect Murder reviewed
by Karen Nicholson in The Isle of
Wight County Press 17/10/03
(reproduced by kind permission
of the Isle of Wight County Press)
A Perfect Murder was perfectly executed by Cowes Amateur Operatic
and Dramatic Society on its opening night at Trinity Theatre,
Cowes, last week. A performance of professional standard was
enjoyed by a disappointingly small house for this fast-paced
thriller, which had as many twists as the life of Jeffrey Archer
on whose original story it is based.
Starting with a confession of murder and so looking like a
whodunit in reverse, this clever story keeps you guessing right
the totally unexpected denouement.
Under the direction of Jane Maclean, all this was played with
such verve that if there had been any justice, CAODS would have
been performing to a full house every night.
The plot revolves around the murder of good time girl Carla
Moorland in her Pimlico flat. The victim is late but definitely
not lamented by self-confessed murderer John Hoskins (Paul Stevens)
the mid-life crisis husband who had struck her down after falling
into her clutches as a diversion from his monotonous life and
Paul Stevens struck just the right balance between no pity for
Carla and much pity for himself to ensure we had no sympathy
for him at all.
Instead he had us shifting uncomfortably in our seats as he
plotted with his wife about putting an innocent man behind bars
for the crime.
Carole French's portrayal of his wife, Elizabeth, was intriguing.
Her blend of fire and ice lifted her away from the stereotype
of the bossy, frigid,
middle class wife, hinting at depths of past hurt that had made her in
to the person
she had regrettably become.
I could have cheered at her clever ploy that ensured that her
passionless drip of a husband would never stray again, although
I doubt if he was ever worth keeping.
Tony Wheeler as investigating officer, Dl Simmons, was a dopplegangerof
actor David Jason so his character strongly reminded me of TV
detective Jack Frost, right from the moment when he had us in
stitches about trying to smoke in a no-smoking office.
Blending a hard head with humour, Tony looked the part and was
totally convincing in this role that could have been written
for him. TV directors take note.
A Perfect Murder is a demanding play to stage as it calls for
three distinct and detailed sets -the Hoskins's living room in
Surrey, the detective's office in Belgravia and then a courtroom
at the Old Bailey. CAODS cleverly got round this by splitting
the stage in two, with lighting directing our eyes to where we
should look next. It is a tribute to the company that they managed
to confidently portray a murder trial in a courtroom, complete
with counsel, court clerk, judge, defendant and witnesses within
just over half of the stage and no one knocked anything over.
All this and they plugged a video in too to show us a tape that
was to prove incriminating for one mem- ber of the cast and was
just one of the many surprises in this excellent show.