Thriller season off to a good start

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It’s August and the “murder mystery month” is back to delight fans old and new at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal, writes Tony Spittles.

This summer tradition has been delighting audiences for more than 25 years, and this year’s quality quartet in the Colin McIntyre Classic Thriller season looks like repeating the successes of previous years.

The opening production, Jekyll and Hyde, is more a melodrama than the usual murder investigation in director Nicholas Briggs’s skilful adaption of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic about the experiments by Dr Jekyll (Robert Laughlin) that unleash the monstrous murderer Edward Hyde, a role played with relish by series stalwart Andrew Fetes.

Strong support was given by other theatre favourites, including Andrew Ryan, as the lawyer Gabriel Utterson, a close friend of Dr Jekyll and fellow medic Hastie Lanyon (Jeremy Lloyd Thomas), whose interviews with police inspector Newcomen (David Gilbrook) reveal the battle between good and evil.

The Victorian backdrop to Jekyll and Hyde (on until this Saturday) moves on a couple of generations for next week’s production, Night Must Fall (August 10-15). which was premiered in London in 1935.

Emlyn Williams’s psychological thriller, which was also filmed in 1937 and 1964, has lost none of its impact over the years as bell boy Dan, a cool and calculating liar, has already murdered one woman and looks set to add to his tally.

Continuing the edge-of-the seat entertainment is a return after ten years of Francis Durbridge’s 1960s’ period piece Suddenly At Home (August 17-22) in which scheming husband Glenn Howard thinks he’s discovered a foolproof way to bump off his wife and lay the blame of his wife’s former lover.

Similar themes of revenge amid extra-marital affairs underscore the final play, Stage Struck (August 24-29) as former stage manager Robert Simon shares home with his West End actress wife, yet still finds time to play away . . . with deadly consequences.

For further details of ticket prices, £11 to £23, and showtimes, please contact the Theatre Royal box office on 0115 989555, or check the website at www.trch.co.uk