Dead Simple is Peter James' most famous work to date and the second of his books to transfer to the stage. Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's story The Premature Burial the plot is dark, twisted, and far more gruesome than The Perfect Murder (which debuted as a stage production in Jan 2014). Set in James' hometown of Brighton, the action takes place over a week and inspires many questions throughout, keeping the audience on their toes and shocking at every opportunity.
The music used throughout the production is haunting and full of tension. With Direction from Ian Talbot the stage is well used and at times manipulated in order to mask identities. The set, designed by Michael Taylor, houses several settings allowing scenes to flow beautifully rather than going to blackouts or bringing the curtain down on a killing. Punctuated with much needed light humour, the show is dark but never too heavy for the audience to bear. Immensely entertaining, the play is refreshingly modern and incredibly well acted.
With great stage presence the show centres around the character of Ashley Harper (played by Tina Hobley). Ashley has a profound effect upon the lives of business partners Michael Harrison and Mark Warren (played by Jamie Lomas and Rik Makarem). The audience become quickly acquainted with a web of characters whose lives will soon intertwine. Sub-plots and unforeseen twists and turns provide a feast for the mind and though barbaric in parts the story explores misguided friendships, payback, deceit, and the danger of riches.
Dead Simple is a crime thriller that breaks the mould of the traditional format. It sets the standard for future crime writing and nails the lid on the coffin of the outdated classics. Catch it if you can. Dead Simple runs at New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham until Sat 4 July. To book tickets click here or call Box Office on 0844 871 3011.
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