CHESTEREFIELD: Corkscrew thriller Murder Weapon shines at Pomegranate Theatre

Claire Vousden and John Hester in Murder Weapon at the Pomegranate, Chesterfield, on August 5.

Claire Vousden and John Hester in Murder Weapon at the Pomegranate, Chesterfield, on August 5.

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To describe the cast of Murder Weapon, Talking Scarlet’s latest production at the Pomegranate, as the usual suspects is a bit of an old chestnut, especially since the play is a murder mystery; but all six are familiar faces to Chesterfield theatregoers.

The play is anything but an old chestnut – it’s almost brand new, highly original and the work of top TV scriptwriter Brian Clemens.

On the face of it, it’s an open and shut case for the down to earth, seen-it-all-before detective inspector; the suspect is caught redhanded. But the sharp-witted new chief constable, who happened to be first on the scene, is less sure. And of course, nothing is quite as it seems. The victim (last-minute substitute Nick Barclay) isn’t who the suspect thought he was, and nor is his wife (Jo Castleton.) And where – or who – is the mysterious psychiatrist who seems to have disappeared?

John Hester brings a touch of humour to the weary, irascible inspector, a perfect foil for Claire Vousden’s laid-back, sophisticated chief constable. Sam Clemens gives his stage muscles a good workout as a smoothie neighbour. But top acting honours go to Philip Stewart, who plays a blinder as disturbed, twitchy Charlie, found with a gun in his hand but swearing his innocence throughout.

Like all the best mysteries, it gets more and more complicated and confusing before it’s resolved, and adds up to a jolly entertaining night out.

Murder Weapon runs until Saturday. August 10, 2013.

LYNNE PATRICK