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5-star The Perfect Murder at The Churchill Theatre Bromley – Review

The Perfect MurderDarkly comical and hilariously macabre, The Perfect Murder has us hooked from the moment we see our protagonist Victor complaining to a prostitute about the state of his desolate marriage. Life would surely be easier if he had his wife killed; and so the seeds of his twisted plan are sown.

Victor is compellingly portrayed by the enigmatic Shane Ritchie, husband of twenty years to Joan, artfully played by the effervescent Jessie Wallace. Domestic life is fraught, and we are invited into their world of petty bickering and arguments – this is clearly a couple for whom the spark has long since faded. Comedy at every twist and turn keep the audience belly laughing from the on-set (Joan states it’s their 20th wedding anniversary, the ‘china’ anniversary – to which Victor replies, ‘china? Well, we both married each other: we’re both mugs.’)

Both Ritchie and Wallace have a fantastic natural onstage chemistry, created in part through their years working alongside each other on Eastenders – their partnership has won them critical acclaim and numerous awards, including ‘Best Onscreen Partnership’ at the British Soap Awards.

The Perfect Murder UK Tour - Shane Richie as Victor Smiley and Jessie Wallace as Joan Smiley
The Perfect Murder UK Tour – Shane Richie as Victor Smiley and Jessie Wallace as Joan Smiley – credit Honeybunn Photography

Momentum builds throughout the first half as we learn that not only is Victor having an affair with a prostitute, but Joan has her own skeletons in the closet, in the form of young hunk Don Kirk, portrayed by the gorgeous Stephen Fletcher. Also deserving high praise for their excellent character portrayals are Simona Armstrong – playing headstrong and cunning prostitute Kamila – and the fantastic Benjamin Wilkin, as intelligent Detective Constable Roy Grace.

As the suspense ramps up, there are moments of true horror which make the audience genuinely jump out of their seats. It’s remarkable that even during the most fear-inducing moments onstage, the actors craft every turn as wonderfully comic. Staging is simple yet effective; a cross-section of Victor and Joan’s marital home, and a cross-section of Kamila’s ‘working lair.’ The action jumps between both set-ups, creating suspense which peaks right up to the very last shocking twist.

This particular performance was staged at the beautiful Churchill Theatre in Bromley, before touring around the UK, in what is sure to be an exceptionally successful run. A special nod is given to director Ian Talbot for this masterpiece of comedy theatre – macabre, farcical, yet delicious, it really is just perfect.

5 Star Rating

Review by Louise Czupich

Award-winning actors Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace star together on stage for the very first time in the ingenious and critically acclaimed stage hit of Peter James’ No.1 best-selling thriller, THE PERFECT MURDER.

Victor Smiley and his wife Joan have been married for a long time. But their marriage has reached crisis point and Victor has decided that there is only one way to get Joan out of his life forever… but he’s about to get a nasty surprise. As a young Detective Roy Grace starts to investigate his very first homicide case, dark forces intervene and he begins to realise that nothing is quite as it seems…

Have you ever wondered how to commit the perfect murder? This highly entertaining dark comedy thriller, directed by Olivier Award-winner Ian Talbot, might just be your answer!

Television and stage stars Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace have famously appeared together in EASTENDERS for more than a decade. Their magnetic partnership has won them both critical acclaim and multiple awards including ‘Best On-Screen Partnership’ at the British Soap Awards.

Peter James has been acclaimed as “one of the most fiendishly clever crime fiction plotters” (Daily Mail) and his brilliant Roy Grace novels have sold over 16 million copies worldwide.

Perfect Murder – UK Tour 2016 – ATG Tickets

The Perfect Murder
Booking to 13th February 2016
Churchill Theatre Bromley

Monday 7th to Saturday 12th March 2016
Theatre Royal Brighton


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