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The Perfect Murder stage production: The Argus

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At first sight a bickering couple plotting to bump off each other might not seem an obvious recipe for stage success. But this play is based on a story by top-selling author Peter James, who has built up a huge and loyal following for his Roy Grace novels.

Add in Les Dennis, as far from Family Fortunes in this show as you can imagine; the swift pen of masterful adaptor Shaun McKenna; the accomplished performance of Claire Goose whose at times neurotic Joan Smiley succeeds without any melodrama; plus the confident delivery of Cockney rhyming slang from Gray O’Brien, and you get a farce which is entirely credible. It’s a neat trick to pull it off as this cast and production team does.

Steven Miller was apparently hand-picked by James to play young Detective Constable Grace, dreamt up especially for this play yet personifying the good cop tradition we know so well. Simona Armstrong pulls off hooker Kamila with heartening brilliance.

Alan Ayckbourn’s influence is palpable, and it’s no surprise to discover that the clever use of space to make a suburban semi is created by a designer (Michael Holt) associated with Ayckbourn for 20 years.

All in all, a very favourable result.