THEATRE REVIEW: Thriller let itself down

Not Dead Enough

Not Dead Enough

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Hannah Richardson reviews Not Dead Enough, at Milton Keynes Theatre.

If I’d written this review during the interval, I’d have told you this was a nail-bitingly good thriller.

Gemma Atkins and Stephen Billington in Not Dead Enough. Picture by Mark Douet

Gemma Atkins and Stephen Billington in Not Dead Enough. Picture by Mark Douet

Almost too nail-biting for me, as I’m total wimp when it comes to on-screen or on-stage violence.

Following his role in the successful nationwide tour of The Perfect Murder earlier this year alongside Jessie Wallace, EastEnders actor Shane Richie stars as Detective Superintendent Roy Grace in this adaptation of another Peter James novel.

It’s a chilling story about a serial killer, set mainly in a pathology lab and a police interview suite.

Laura Whitmore plays pathologist Cleo Morey and the detective’s love interest.

Women are being murdered in a grisly fashion and it’s all too obvious that Cleo is at risk. But Det Grace is distracted.

Stephen Billington plays Brian Bishop, husband of the latest murder victim, and under suspicion. But are things as they seem?

The first half of the show quickly had me on the edge of my seat, despite some fluffed lines and Richie’s disturbingly David Brent moustache.

So I was expecting more thrills and an exciting denoument after the interval.

Sadly, I was left disappointed.

It was as if the play ran out of steam, and the second act somehow lacked the pace and suspense of the first.

Richie’s habit of talking with his hand in front of his mouth when interviewing his suspect didn’t help.

While I didn’t quite see the final revelation coming, it wasn’t entirely surprising.

And things got seriously iffy when words turned into action in the final scenes, as Det Grace grapples for his life with the killer.

Embarrassingly, the supposedly dramatic climax elicited giggles rather than gasps from the audience around me. I’ve seen more convincing stage fights in am dram.

Hopefully, these are rehearsal issues that can be ironed out as the tour goes on, but the paying audience deserved better.

Not Dead Enough is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday night.

Box office: 0844 871 7652 or see www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes