Oh what a tangled web they’re weaving down at the Playhouse on Storforth Lane this week.
Audience with Murder, Hasland Theatre Company’s spring production, is more mystifying than Agatha Christie, more abrasive than Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and more complicated than Hamlet – and all three are referred to and woven into the script.
It opens straightforwardly enough, with four people doing a playreading, but don’t be taken in; it soon begins to spiral into complexity as hectoring bully Alan chips and rips at the others until secrets are uncovered and the past laid bare.
At least, that’s how it appears.
I don’t think it’s giving too much away to say almost nothing in this play is as it seems, and the best way to enjoy it is to expect the unexpected.
The cast of four, or possibly five, rise to the occasion and explore different facets of their personalities, plumbing their benign and darker sides as required. Experienced players Rachel Schofield and Peter Thornton join relative newcomer Elena Fox and the elusive Tom Bannister and Martin Betson to create layer upon layer of intrigue, surprise and revenge.
The booze flows freely, things go bump in the small hours, and even when it’s all explained there’s still a shock to come. One scene may even leave you feeling you never want to enter a theatre again.
But don’t let that deter you. It’s all good fun, and a great time is had by cast and audience alike.
It runs till Saturday, March 31.