Review: Rehearsal for Murder, New Theatre

Review by Sarah Davies and Khuram Mahmood

Posted by George Caulton

The story of a man searching for his wife-to-be’s murderer begins slowly and stirs, quite literally, from the underbelly of the theatre. Rehearsal for Murder suffers and succeeds in the same instant, not dissimilar to the state that Alex, the protagonist finds himself in. Alex, a successful playwright, attempts to calm the nerves of the leading lady, Monica, the night before the big opening of his newest production. After some mixed reviews, the night takes a turn for the terrible when we learn about the apparent suicide of Monica.

The pace that is set during the first half  somewhat blunts the impact of the format used by David Rogers. Rehearsal for Murder’s “play within a play” aspect creeps up on the audience unexpectedly, perhaps similarly to ghostly role of Frank Hiller, who Gwynfor Jones does an excellent job of portraying as a man very much caught in and among the circumstances of a love triangle gone wrong, whose explanations can quite fairly be seen as frustrating and rushed at best. Robert Daws does a fine role in keeping the audience close and at times his delivery can be gripping in its voyeuristic and personal style, however, as a result other characters such as  Steven Pinder’s Lloyd and Lucy Dixon’s Karen feel more like chess pieces than real characters with consequential roles in the overall narrative.

At times, Rehearsal for Murder does cross the line, and feel like it forces itself into a corner to prove a point. However, if one bears with the sluggish beginning, Rehearsal for Murder can be a very engaging and clever murder mystery with a very unique concept, with subtle hints and big plot twists to keep you on the edge of seat.