Murder mystery is to die for

Tom Butcher and Gary Turner in Murder With Love

Tom Butcher and Gary Turner in Murder With Love

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From the imaginative, prolific pen of Francis Durbridge, Murder With Love had all the ingredients for a thought-provoking and ingenious ‘whodunnit’.

Lead roles, Larry Campbell (Nick Barclay) and David Ryder (Tom Butcher) were played with skill and conviction in the wordy plot.

The successful lawyer, Ryder, overcome by a desire for revenge, sets out to kill serial womaniser (Campbell), responsible for stealing his wife and child, leading to their subsequent deaths.

The first act consisted mainly of establishing the nine characters and their various relationships. It was somewhat confusing but by the time the curtain rose on the second act, everything seemed to fall into place as the plot thickened with many a tantalising twist and turn yet to come.

Director David Janson squeezed every emotion out of the excellent cast in a split set used to great effect by alternating lighting on the two locations.

There were some excellent performances, Corinne Wicks as Clare, who gave a multi-layered portrayal as Campbell’s languid, blonde mistress, and Detective Cleaver (John Hester) who shone in his role as the convincing sleuth with a comedic edge, thankfully without becoming farcical.

Chris Sheridan, playing blackmailer George Rudd, truly captured the essence of the small-time villain’s cocky, lecherous, character.

This piece proved to be a guessing game which built throughout and surprised with a final unexpected twist, right on cue... Just before the final curtain.

Yvonne Fielding