Killing time at the Abbey

The cast of 'Audience with Murder' were pictured at a dress rehersal on Tuesday at the Abbey Theatre. From left: Kimberley Rennie, James Robb, Gordon Holder, Nadia Grace-Steel.
The cast of 'Audience with Murder' were pictured at a dress rehersal on Tuesday at the Abbey Theatre. From left: Kimberley Rennie, James Robb, Gordon Holder, Nadia Grace-Steel.

There was death and carnage galore at the Abbey Theatre this week as the cast and audience got to grips with a taut thriller.

‘Audience With Murder’ by Roger Leech and Colin Wakefield is part of the 50th anniversary programme of Arbroath Abbey Theatre Club and is a complex and engrossing play.

The audience certainly had to have their wits about them, as bodies dropped with alarming frequency and the intricate plot unravelled one layer at a time like a deadly onion.

As the show runs until tomorrow evening (Saturday) we do not wish to give too much away, but let us just say that this is no ordinary whodunnit and anyone who says they figured out the ending by the interval is fibbing!

Special mention must be made of the choice of music at the overture, this was a particularly well-chosen and atmospheric piece which set the scene perfectly.

The story opens with Sue (Kim Rennie) leading a reading of her brand new play, thriller ‘The Play’s The Thing’ and as the story unfolds the body count both on the page and on the stage rises.

Kim is believable as the downtrodden wife who resorts to passive aggressive tactics against her foul husband, her later transformation is a delightful contrast.

Gordon Holder’s portrayal of husband Alan is spot on, over-bearing, egotistical, the audience quickly hate him as much as Sue does.

How Gordon’s character eventually plays out is surprising, yet inevitable.

James Robb starts off subtly as the meek Dean, making his later outbursts all the more shocking and violently powerful.

He too metamorphoses – and James is careful not to overegg the violence.

Nadia Steel as Kelly brings to life a very complex character, the audience never sure if she is friend or foe, and wary of her violent side.

Jack Laing as Ken Wheelwright does not appear until the very end, but it is his role which brings it all together and he plays it well.

The stage crew have done another good job of creating a brand new setting for the action and the painted on wooden flooring was a nice touch.

Producer Alan Johnston has done a great job of making this very complicated play reveal its secrets in just the right way and should be pleased with the efforts of the cast.