ADAPTED exclusively for stage, Wish You Were Dead, which plays Mayflower Theatre this week, is billed as the latest thrilling installment of the Grace Series, and the most successful modern day crime stage franchise since Agatha Christie.
When Detective Superintendent Roy Grace and Cleo Morey head to a chateau in rural France, they are hoping for a relaxing holiday, but their accommodation doesn't quite live up to its advertisements, or their expectations.
And, soon after their arrival, things begin to take a sinister turn.
The stage design, by Michael Holt, is cleverly done, and - along with lighting by Jason Taylor and music by Max Pappenheim – it manages to create an eerie and atmospheric dimension to the action playing out on stage, all adding to the suspense.
Casualty’s George Rainsford and Coronation Street’s Katie McGlynn play Roy Grace and Cleo Morey respectively, and Clive Mantle (Game of Thrones and Vicar of Dibley) is bad guy Curtis – his comic timing and one-liners ensure he is a hit with the audience, even if I couldn’t work out if his character was supposed to be funny.
Rebecca McKinnis takes the stand out performance of the evening for me, with a riveting portrayal as Madame L’Eveque/Tessa, and special mention should also go to Callum Sheridan-Lee for his short, but well-acted, representation of Brent.
Peter James’ novel, Wish You Were Dead, is adapted for the stage by award-winning writer, Shaun McKenna, who also adapted the five previous Peter James plays, don’t let that put you off if you haven’t seen them though - it can be viewed as a stand-alone.
And, though I’m not sure it’s quite up there with Agatha Christie – after all those are some pretty big shoes to fill, it is still an enjoyable evening out, with a plot that keeps you wondering how on earth Grace is going to get out of it this time.
I may just have to read the series of books now!
Wish You Were Dead runs until Saturday, tickets are on sale at mayflower.org.uk or 02380 711811.