ALL THE clues are there: a rumpled beige mac, fat cigar, American accent and a disingenuous air of confusion.
And they only point to one thing. Lieutenant Columbo is back.
Played by John Guerrasio, the dishevelled detective had the Devonshire Park Theatre audience chuckling in recognition.
Following the well-known television set-up, Prescription Murder is more of a ‘will he get away with it?’ rather than a ‘whodunnit?’
Psychiatrist Dr Roy Flemming (Brian Capon) has tired of his wealthy wife Claire (Alexandra Boyd) and decides to bump her off.
His patient - and besotted lover - Susan Hudson (Elizabeth Lowe) helps him out with his murderous machinations and the pair think they have committed the perfect crime.
But they haven’t reckoned on Columbo.
Will Columbo manage to sniff out the murderer - and how he did it? Or will the ice-cold shrink outwit him?
There is plenty of fun to be had in Prescription Murder, mostly from the performance of John Guerrasio who manages to carry off a pretty good Peter Falk impersonation.
The play is a little long with, paradoxically, too many scenes (although the changes are slickly handled) coupled with too many long chunks of dialogue and some of the accents are a little more Hove than Hollywood.
But the Devonshire Park audience gave the play an enthusiastically warm reception on the opening night.
Any fans of Columbo are sure to have a fine time.
Evening performances on Friday and Saturday are at 7.45pm, with a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm.
Just one more thing.....tickets cost from £13.50-£19.50, call 412000.