Oxford, 1987, and a young actress playing Shakespeare’s doomed heroine Ophelia ends up dying on-stage during a theatrical production of Hamlet. A “suspicious death” inquiry is opened, but when a suspect in the case is also murdered, veteran police Inspector Morse becomes convinced the two deaths are related to the strange events of a similar student production from 1962, one that he himself was a part of…
Morse faces dark memories and suspects in a theatrical murder mystery by Alma Cullen.
Review from Rick Bowen at Stagestruck
WHEN I discovered John Thaw was to play another TV detective I expected him to
be something like Jack Regan, who I idolised as a child when I sat glued to The
Sweeney in the 70’s.
This was a man straight out of the boot in the door and ask questions later school of
policing. But Inspector Morse was a world away from the much loved maverick from
the Flying Squad, cultured, considered, cerebral and with a deep seated love of
It takes a lot of guts and no amount of talent to play a character so inextricably linked
with an acting icon like Thaw. But Jonathan Black certainly succeeds here and
doesn’t try to impersonate the late stage and screen great.
Black has quite a presence and the way he reprimands his sidekick Sergeant Lewis
for his verbal faux pas is genuinely funny. Andrew Higson plays the part perfectly
and the chemistry between the two very different men certainly comes across.
The duo are asked to investigate the dubious death of a young actress playing
Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. All of a sudden the company finds itself embroiled
in a real life tragedy as fingers of suspicion are pointed and cupboards release their
I’ve seen Sarat Broughton in countless productions at the Garrick and her
performance as Ellen Underwood is her best yet and Jacque Hamilton also
impressed me as the old soak actress Verity Carr, an actress who has been there,
done it and bought enough t-shirts to open her own t-shirt shop.
My only criticism of Alma Cullen’s play is it is something of a slow burner in places.
But this in an engrossing and intriguing tale all the same.
Who can resist the chance to play detective?
Until May 28. Tickets are available from 0161 928 1677 or
www.altrinchamgarrick.co.uk. Star rating – 3.5/5.
Photo credit – Martin Ogden
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