Set in the 1970’s, this psychological thriller, written by Donald F East, unfolds in the living room of Clive and Moira Richards replete with ghastly furniture and a record player. Although the costume is neutral, with the fashion excesses of the decade studiously avoided, the period is nicely evoked with incidental music by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass playing Bacharach/David classics as instrumentals.
Clive (Paul Lavers) and Moira (Carly Nickson) are a middle class couple existing in a loveless marriage which explodes as secrets, passion and treachery overwhelm them. Lavers is dry and understated, Nickson neatly unfolds from carping, irritating, shrew, to scheming player. Opposite them in this four-hander are Philip Norden (Peter Amory) and Jane Richards (Bridget Lambert). Amory is best known for his part as plotting businessman Chris Tate in Emmerdale , and he reprises that role in this production as the business partner of Clive, and lover of Moira. However his plans are challenged by the appearance of a mystery woman, Jane Richards, whose conniving , brassy ways, Lambert revels in.
The story plays out over six scenes in two acts. The slow first scene is in stark contrast to the eventful climax of the final scene in the final act. Author Donald East uses a love triangle as the start point for his drama, then adds some twists and turns to beef up the action laced with some welcome humour. This is not a “whodunit”, more a “who is going to do what to whom ?” Offering no profanity , or any risqué material, the drama is cerebral rather than visceral, and a safe genre piece.
After the final curtain Peter Amory steps forward, out of character, to thank the theatre, and audience, for their support for the production which was a nice touch. Design for Murder runs until Saturday 21st June.