Review: Sleuth at Nottingham Playhouse. A Five Star Sure Fire Hit!

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Anthony Shaffer’s classic thriller Sleuth at Nottingham Playhouse is a sure fire hit, cunning, murderously witty and dangerously double dealing. This is a five star production and every one of the five actors is a star in their own right.

Sleuth… a sure fire hit

Before we get into the meat of the review we need to compliment Nottingham Playhouse in offering small but important roles to two young local actors, Oli Smith and Ed Boot. Both actors are a credit to the professional stage and their performances tonight reveal  hidden talents and arresting performances. They unequivocally demonstrate that old theatrical adage that there is no such thing as a small part on stage…

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The central characters, crime novel author Andrew Wyke (Miles Richardson) and travel agency entrepreneur and lover Milo Tindle (James Alexandrou) both offer up tour de force performances showing vocal dexterity, energy, humour and dramatic verve and make the thriller Sleuth whiz along like a dangerous game of snakes and ladders with a fair few rasping deadly tongues and sudden unexpected downfalls along the way!

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Cliff Williams delights as not so dumb Inspector Doppler. He may be a bit unsure on his feet and slow of accent but he certainly knows a bit of dried blood on the stairs when he spies it and is an unwelcome intrusion to Andrew Wyke’s deviously constructed mansion in the second act. Will the murderer be found out in his own tricky web of deceit? Only Inspector Doppler may tell!

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Director Giles Croft keeps the action fun and tight throughout and Shaffer’s 1970’s script is faithfully adhered to in tone and design. The stunningly combined technical design of the ever changing set (designer Barney George – AV designer Simon Wainwright – sound designer Martin Curtis – lighting designer Alexandra Stafford) is a miracle of staging adding much of the magic of the show. Composer and Musical Director Jonathan Girling’s music brings subtle tension to this often darkly comical dramatic thriller.

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Sleuth has been entertaining audiences since the mid 1970s and this excellent production at Nottingham Playhouse, running until 24th September then transferring, is as entertaining as it gets! Sleuth is a great start to the Sweet Vengeance Season at Nottingham Playhouse.

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Sleuth is a co-production by Nottingham Playhouse and West Yorkshire Playhouse and when you go to see it please don’t reveal its many secrets! Not knowing is all part of the fun!

Reviewer: Phil Lowe.

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