The Perfect Murder, the Mayflower Theatre

By Lorelei Reddin, Entertainments Editor

IT was less crime thriller, more comedy.

There was much to enjoy from this entertaining five-hander, the stage adaptation of the Peter James novella of the same name.

But not quite in the way the audience had expected.

There were laughs aplenty from the witty bickering between our two brilliant leads Les Dennis and Claire Goose as Victor and Joan Smiley, the long-suffering childless couple whose marriage has reached crisis point after 20 years.

After a rather murderous warning from the author that whomever used their mobile phone would be next for an early grave, which sets the tone for the evening, the curtain rises and within minutes we find Les Dennis in his pants post-coitus.

He’s busy telling his psychic eastern European prostitute pal Kamila (the superbly convincing Simona Armstrong) how he plans to bump off his wife – the perfect murder.

He’s annoyed at her for buying a fridge freezer, she can’t stand his new TV – and the hatred grows from there.

Onto a very clever set, add his wife’s mock cockney boyfriend (likeable Gray O’Brien) and the rookie detective Roy Grace (Steven Miller, believable and bashful) and plenty of weapons and poison and you have the recipe for a wonderful black comedy farce.

There’s little violence, just a touch of haunting and plenty of twists and turns to shock even the most ardent of the book’s followers.

Few will see the surprise ending coming. It’s completely implausible but ties up nicely a fine two and a half hours in the theatre.

Clever and comical without being thrilling or terrifying.