Not Dead Enough at The Churchill Theatre

Not Dead Enough
Peter James’ Not Dead Enough

Peter James is one of the UK’s best selling authors and is renowned for his crime thrillers. I have never read any of his books but with my mum an avid fan we set off for a mother/daughter theatre trip to see Not Dead Enough at the Churchill Theatre.

Not Dead Enough is set in Brighton and opens with a murder of Kate Bishop, a wealthy member of the Brighton ‘B List.’ Immediately her husband, Brian Bishop falls under suspicion of DS Roy Grace and with the help of his girlfriend and local mortician, Cleo Morey the more that is uncovered and the higher the body count, the stranger it gets.

The script and plot of this show is the standout point. With the plot you would expect nothing less from one of the leading crime writers. However often stage adaptations can go horribly wrong, luckily not the case in this instance, far from it. Plaudits must therefore be given to Shaun McKenna who has adapted the book for the stage. The play has the perfect amount of tension with some lighter moments thrown in to compliment this. The characters are all well rounded and feel believable. Whilst the show concentrates on the forensics and the investigations around the murder the human element of the characters are not lost and the two are interwoven nicely.

Not Dead Enough by Peter James
Directed by Ian Talbot

DS Roy Grace was played by Bill Ward and his gravitas for the part was well considered and gave a clear human side to the DS. Laura Whitmore was Cleo Morey who gave a standout performance. She went from self-assured, respected professional to scared victim brilliantly. Stephen Billington played Brian Bishop and brought depth to this difficult multi-layered part.

The static set was used well, with downstage becoming the police station and upstage the mortuary. This allowed for a good pace and no long set changes with lighting simply enhancing where the action is taking place.

My only criticism would be the climax of the show. Whilst I do not want not give anything away it felt like a quick route out, especially considering the twists and turns in the build up. Considerable work had been put in to build up the required tension and this seemed to vanish instantly.

This is a show for both fans of Peter James and those that simply love a good murder mystery at the theatre. A solid plot with tension and twists and turns makes for a successful production.

You can find more about the show and book tickets yourself on the Churchill Theatre’s website.

If you liked my Review of Not Dead Enough you may also like my reviews of Perfect Murder, Buddy and Curious Incident of a Dog In The Night time.

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