Review: All About Murder. The Colin McIntyre Thriller Season 2021. Nottingham Theatre Royal.

As socially distanced audiences are very much welcomed back to Nottingham Theatre Royal and Nottingham Royal Concert Hall the opening home grown play’s curtains go up on the first of the four popular Colin McIntyre Thriller Season – All About Murder written by Brian Clemens and Dennis Spooner. All About Murder runs at Nottingham Theatre Royal 23-26 June 2021.

All About Murder proves a light hearted murderous affair set in crime author and playwright Nigel Forbes’ Oxfordshire house some time in the 1980s given that there are no computers and internet. This setting features a vital cassette recorder, a typewriter, a fridge in the author’s work space, some ubiquitous French windows, a loaded gun, two struggling writers, a pretty secretary and a drunken wife called Anne.

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The cast features David Callister (Nigel Forbes), Jill Prentice (Anna Mitcham), Susie Hawthorne (Anne Forbes), Maxine Goodman (Susan Earnshaw) and Jeremy Lloyd Thomas (Det. Insp. Berry). This quick fire play runs at around 90 minutes with no interval and works its thriller magic very much as a tongue-in-cheek drama.

As the two desperate writers, Maxine and Nigel, come up with a set of plot devices to create a new play that will earn them back their old reputation, and a much needed income, they decide that an audience’s appreciation of the thriller genre is best achieved if the audience genuinely dislike the villain. Who could they possibly base their despicable villain on? Cue a sniping and sozzled Anne Forbes who is not only constantly on the booze but expects her broke husband to pay for her habit. There appears to be no love lost between this unhappily married couple. Max and Nigel immediately set about plotting to kill her but do they mean to do the deed purely in the fictional construct of their proposed ‘sure fire hit’ of a new play or in reality? And if the latter, how do they propose to get away with the murder?

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All the action is performed with gusto by the energetic cast and Jeremy Lloyd Thomas as the investigating Det. Insp. Berry gets most of the laughs as he jumps from being a serious detective (hard to pull off given his ridiculous moustache) to fawning fan of Forbes and Goodman’s previous plays in which he has acted (rather badly given his comical depictions) as a local amateur performer.

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There are plenty of red herrings and twists and turns to All About Murder directed by Andrew Ryan and the first of the Colin McIntyre’s Thrillers proves to be a fun and well received introduction to this year’s Thriller Season from Tabs Productions and Nottingham Theatre Royal.

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