Not Dead Enough (New Victoria Theatre, Woking)

Reviewed by Charly Ralph
February 6th 2017
Reviewer rating: ★ ★ ★

Not Dead Enough was the third novel in Peter James’ award winning Roy Grace series and is now the third play in his box office smash hit and critically acclaimed stage franchise, following the successes of The Perfect Murder and Dead Simple

It tells the story of Brian Bishop, a businessman whose wife has been murdered in their Brighton home whilst he was away in London. Well, that’s what he tells Detective Superintendent Roy Grace who is leading the case, as a family story shrouded in secrecy begins to unravel.

Not Dead Enough.  Photo by Mark Douet _31B9675_600.jpg

Returning to the work of Peter James, Shane Ritchie is both confident and charming in the role of DS Roy Grace and leads the cast well as the novel is brought to life onstage. The script combines drama, suspense and a touch of comedy, however the dialogue initially felt a bit stilted and it appeared to take a while for the actors to relax into the performance.

Michael Holt’s set was cleverly designed and enabled the actors to alter the pace of the performance when required. With the interview room and the mortuary both visible to the audience, multiple conversations and action sequences can take placewithout significant pause, propelling the storyline forward and heightening the element of suspense which is crucial to a crime drama.

Without wanting to give too much away, Stephen Billington provides a spectrum of characteristics throughout his portrayal of the complex Brian Bishop, enhancing the audience’s uncertainty regarding the outcome of the story. In her professional theatrical debut, Laura Whitmore gave a committed performance as Cleo Morley and held her own within an endearing onstage partnership with Shane Ritchie.

Not Dead Enough had all the elements of a traditional ‘whodunnit’ story, with many twists and turns to keep the audience guessing. Sadly as the show reached its climax, the reveal of the guilty party fell somewhat flat on stage and I couldn’t help but feel that the audience left wanting more from its conclusion.

Not Dead Enough will be showing at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking until Saturday 11th February before continuing on its UK Tour. Shane Richie will play the role of Roy Grace until 15 April 2017.

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