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  • Writer's pictureNeill Kovacic-Clarke

REVIEW: SLEUTH @ THE PRINCESS THEATRE

🎭 Sleuth 

📍 Princess Theatre, Torbay Road, Torquay, Devon, TQ2 5EZ                             

🗓 Monday 19th February 2024

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️



AN OUTSTANDING THRILLER


Sleuth by Anthony Shaffer is playing all this week at Torquay’s Princess Theatre as part of a national tour and last night I was invited along to watch and review the play.


Having first been staged in 1970 and running for 5 years in London’s West End, Sleuth tells the story of two men, one with a desire to marry the love of his life and the other with a desire for playing games! Shaffer’s writing is exquisite and the play has aged tremendously well.


The play is set in the Wiltshire manor house of successful mystery novelist Andrew Wyke (Todd Boyce - Coronation Street) and opens to him reading his latest writings. The house is classically and tastefully decorated and is strewn with reflections of his fascination with game-playing.


Then enters Milo Tindle (Neil McDermott - Eastenders) who, on arriving in Wiltshire from London, found a note inviting him to Wyke’s home. There is a tenuous link between the two. Tindle wants to get married to Wyke’s wife! Wyke seems more than happy for him to do this as he too has a lover. He just wants to know that Tindle can keep her in the lifestyle to which she has become accustomed.



Wyke convinces Tindle to stage a robbery in his home which would be equally beneficial to the pair, allowing them to both move on with their lives care-free. But are Wyke’s intentions honorable, will Tindle be lured into his game and can Tindle give as good as he gets in regards to game playing?


This thriller is instantly engaging and is far more than an everyday ‘whodunnit?’ story. The play cleverly weaves and develops throughout the story, blindsiding the audience at every turn. For the first time when watching this sort of play, I genuinely had no idea during the interval what was going to happen next, but I couldn’t wait to retake my seat and find out! 


The quality of acting on display was nothing short of outstanding. Boyce was sublime as the slightly eccentric novelist and was a joy to behold as Wyke revelled in his own creativity. McDermott was equally as impressive, really getting to play with his character during act 2. He showed a great range of different emotions throughout and was completely convincing.


The set design by Julie Godfrey was perfect for the piece and was almost a mixture of The Mousetrap and Noises Off, which is also a great description for the play itself. It has all the thrills of an Agatha Christie plot, but mixed with the humour of Michael Frayn’s classic comic caper.



Rachel Kavanaugh’s direction completely understands the script and really makes the audience feel like they’re in the room rather than outside observing, which is not always easy to do in a large venue. The production choice not to open the circle to ticket sales helped with the intimacy of the piece.


Overall this play is utterly thrilling and is filled with wit and glorious plot twists. Mix this wonderful story with first class acting (some of the best I’ve seen in this kind of play) and fantastic direction, there’s no doubt in my mind that this tour of Sleuth is a must-see hit.


Sleuth is playing until Saturday 24th February at the Princess Theatre in Torquay. Performances are daily at 7:30pm, with 2:30pm matinee performances on Wednesday and Saturday. Click here to check availability and to book tickets.


Neill Kovacic-Clarke


All views are my own and I pride myself on being honest, fair and free from influence. Theatre is subjective and it is important to remember that all views expressed are just those of one reviewer.


My ticket for this performance of Sleuth was gifted by the Princess Theatre who invited me to watch the show in exchange for my honest review. The fact that my ticket was gifted played no part in the content of my review or the star rating given.




CAST:

Todd Boyce as Andrew Wyke; Neil McDermott as Milo Tindle


RUNNING TIME (approx):

2 hours 5 minutes, including interval


CONTENT WARNINGS:

Loud noises - one explosion and four gunshots


The Princess Theatre is part of the Ambassadors Theatre Group and is situated on Torquay’s beautiful seafront. As South Devon's largest theatre with a seating capacity of 1,491 it is the perfect South West showcase for the very best West End and touring productions.

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