Test for powers of concentration

Double Death by Williams; Author - Simon Williams; A Talking Scarlett Prodcution; Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon, Surrey; UK ; 22 July 2014 ; Credit : Frazer Ashford / ArenaPAL ; www.arenapal.com SUS-140723-143834001
Double Death by Williams; Author - Simon Williams; A Talking Scarlett Prodcution; Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon, Surrey; UK ; 22 July 2014 ; Credit : Frazer Ashford / ArenaPAL ; www.arenapal.com SUS-140723-143834001

Double Death

devonshire Park Theatre

Until Saturday, August 23

Review by Roger Paine

This play, by Brighton-based company talking Scarlet, who are rapidly making the Devonshire Park Theatre their home-from-home, is Eastbourne Theatres major summer production which runs for four weeks until August 23.

Written by the hugely experienced actor Simon Williams, whose credits read like a roll call of hit television series over the past 40 years, it is not the easiest play to digest after a day on the beach or an early hotel supper.

Unless your powers of concentration are finely tuned or you are a crossword or Sudoku buff. It may help too if you are a twin.

Directed and designed by Philip Stewart, the play is set in a remote house in Cornwall where rumbling thunder and lightning flashes, classic theatrical artifice to create an aura of spookiness, centres on identical twins Max and Ashley Hennessy on the eve of their birthday.

The house belongs to their aunt, Lalla Kershaw, who besides having all the best lines in the play has looked after them since birth, especially Ashley when he was confined to a wheelchair having sustained serious injuries in an alleged accident while climbing with his brother on the nearby cliffs.

A court order now forbids Max from having any contact with his twin.

Ashley also has a full-time carer Nurse Malahide (Kim Tiddy), although her duties, apart from administering pain-killers, are never clearly defined until later revealed in a sudden moment of passion.

In time-honoured fashion there is a local detective, DI Fergus, complete with trilby, long raincoat and shiny shoes who just happens to be passing when Max, unannounced, arrives at the house.

Don’t worry if this sounds predictable as well as complicated. It is.

Fortunately, fine acting by Andrew Paul as Max, and Ashley, but never at the same time; Judy Buxton as dithery but devoted Lalla; and Brian Capron as convincingly Cornish-accented Fergus, illuminates the production.

Billed as a thriller this play may not have you on the edge of your seat in excitement but will provide sufficient food for thought as you sip your bedtime cocoa.