Eastenders stars, Jessie Wallace and Shane Richie, featured in a tale of murder, scheming, adultery and heartbreak this week, but instead of Albert Square, the pair took to the stage of Everyman Theatre, for the launch of the darkly funny, The Perfect Murder.
As the UK premiere of this anticipated show, it is no mystery as to why tickets sold out within weeks, with theatre-goers, crime-lovers and Shane Richie fans from all over filling the rafters of the Cheltenham venue, eager to see dynamic duo ‘Kat and Alfie’ taking on a new role together.
Based on Peter James’ best-selling book, the pair star as a resentful and bickering husband and wife team, Victor and Joan Smiley, and after 20 years of marriage, the two decide that the only way out of this unhappy matrimony is murder.
While first and foremost a crime-thriller, the play was peppered with humour. Jessie Wallace said in a recent interview: ‘It’s like laughing at a funeral,’ and this certainly rang true as audiences couldn’t help but giggle during an almost slapstick scene of a body being poorly wrapped up with bin bags and tape.
Jessie and Shane’s chemistry proved to be even more captivating onstage, and with convincing acting, the two managed to shake the ‘Kat and Alfie’ label almost immediately, taking on the new roles with ease.
With convincing acting, the two managed to shake the 'Kat and Alfie' label almost immediately, taking on the new roles with ease.
There was plenty of humour derived from the loveable cockney-wannabe, Don Kirk, played by Stephen Fletcher, whose poor rhyming slang and cheeky innuendos caused ripples of laughter and couple of groans throughout.
Some jumpy scenes made a stark contrast from the otherwise jovial acting, with flickering lights, slamming doors and a hair-raising scream certainly making the audience sit up a bit straighter.
The interval saw theatre-goers speculating as to how the show would end, and few guessed it correctly, as in all good crime novels, the play featured a welcomed shock twist.
Following a dramatic ending, which saw Shane Richie deliver the cheesy final line, worthy of any television cop show, the curtains fell to rapturous applause, with some audience members giving a standing ovation.
Embodying everything you want from a crime story, murder, romance, quote-worthy one-liners and some killer leather jackets, The Perfect Murder makes for one seriously fun night out at the theatre, with a plotline that wouldn’t look too out of place in a soap.
For more information see The Perfect Murder at Everyman Theatre.
By Alice Lloyd
Thursday 04 February 2016
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