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Looking Good Dead Theatre Royal Bath Review

Theatre Royal Bath 
Peter James, the expert among crime thriller writers famous for convoluted plots with more twists and turns than the minotaur’s labyrinth runs riot in his bestselling novel Looking Good Dead which has been adapted for the stage by Shaun McKenna. Truly a 21st century sleuthing story, the plot revolves around an abandoned USB memory stick left behind on a train, found by entrepreneur Tom Bryce (whose own life is in chaos for various reasons); his geeky teenage son cracks the passcode and when the footage on the memory stick is viewed it becomes apparent that a terrible and bloody murder has been committed to which Tom and his family are now unwilling witnesses, putting them in mortal danger. Detective Roy Grace takes up the cudgel to track down the perpetrators of the crime and save the family in the nick of time.

Adam Woodyatt, best known for his long-standing role as Ian Beale in Eastenders, plays Tom Bryce and Gaynor Faye, also a denizen of the long running soaps, Emmerdale and Coronation Street, plays Kellie his alcoholic and rather frazzled wife (but who wouldn’t be in her circumstances?). They are both excellent and take the plot along and help it to gain credibility – some of it is rather fantastical – the meeting of hi-tech methods to achieve good old-fashioned lowbrow and grubby crime.
Theatre Royal Bath 

Harry Long as Roy Grace, the detective heading the case, has good repartee with his two sidekicks, Glen and Bella played by Leon Stewart and Gemma Stroyan, and keep your eye on these three as they are the caretakers of the story, red herrings and all, to help the audience work out the clues as to the outcome. Luke Ward-Wilkinson makes a great job of the role of Max Bryce, Tom’s teenage son who cracks the code and every parent will recognise the monosyllabic, moody and slightly gormless character of the wayward teenager who nevertheless no-one can do without when the WiFi goes on the blink.

Ian Houghton plays Jonas Kent with a convincing American accent and Mylo McDonald is evil personified as the malevolent Mick, he of the thick Irish accent and menacing persona, all the way to the gasp-inducing twist at the end. The set is cleverly done allowing seamless change between three locations; lighting and sound by Jason Taylor and Max Pappenheim enhance the suspense and atmosphere, altogether making it a most entertaining, if somewhat scary experience! We really enjoyed this; the cast are brilliant and it’s the best ‘who dunnit’ we’ve seen for a long time.

Jacquie Vowles
Theatre Royal Bath 

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