Strictly Murder: Suzy, played by Rachel Holliday and Ross, played by Ben Holliday (no relation) at the Herne Bay Little Theatre
Herne Bay Little Theatre
HERNE Bay Little Theatre's Friday night performance of Strictly Murder was simply magnificent.
Written by Brian Clemens, the creator of The Avengers and The Professionals, this was a gripping murder mystery and was Herne Bay Little Theatre's entry into the Kent Drama Association full length play festival.
Congratulations must go to director Tony Jose for this first-class production which kept the audience on the edge of its seats as the play twisted and turned, uncovering surprises along the way.
It had just the right balance of tension, intrigue and humour.
The charming rustic cottage with a backdrop of the Provence countryside made for an excellent setting which efficiently evoked the pre-war era as Europe braced itself for the Second World War.
Period details were carefully observed, in both the set and costumes and the authentic radio footage of Hitler's voice reverberating round The Little Theatre was more than a little disturbing, even today.
First to appear was Alan Ralphs who somewhat stole the show with his strong and credible portrayal of Josef, a disturbed and dark, but also often child-like and comical man.
This was a truly engrossing performance as he expertly captured the essence of a broken man called Peter who could only grasp at brief moments of sanity.
Although Marc Hamilton seemed to get off to a shaky start, he soon had the audience believing that maybe he was not quite the man he appeared to be as he ably played Peter Meredith.
Rachel Holliday took on the emotionally exhausting role of Peter's partner Suzy Hinchliffe and presented her character with quiet strength and believable vulnerability.
Making his debut at the Little Theatre was Ben Holliday, taking on the twin roles of Frederick and Arnold Ross. He gave an understated yet menacing performance and dyed with great enthusiasm not once, but twice.
Seamlessly morphing from Scotland Yard Superintendent, complete with clipped BBC tones, to ruthless Gestapo officer, Shelagh Scarborough delivered Miriam Miller with great aplomb and command of the stage.
All in all this was a thoroughly enjoyable evening with the departing audience heaping much praise on both the production and the individual performances.