WITH a cast of well-established actors and a promising storyline, I expected great things from Go Back For Murder.
But as the curtain came down on the performance at Derby Theatre, I walked away disappointed and bored by this poorly-executed production.
Adapted from the Agatha Christie novel Five Little Pigs, it tells the story of a woman desperate to prove that her mother had not killed her father 20 years earlier, after she received a letter from her dead mother Caroline claiming she was innocent of the crime.
Heightened emotions would be involved, one might imagine, as she is consumed by the desire to discover her parents’ true story, before she can move on with her life. However, I was unmoved by Carla Le Marchant’s plight, as Sophie Ward injected not a single note of humanity into the role. Her acting was wooden, unconvincing and unsympathetic.
It improved slightly in the second act, when she played the part of her mother in a re-enactment of her father’s murder. She was infinitely more believable in this role than that of the daughter, but the performance was still lacking in depth.
My distaste for her performance was rivalled only by the irritation felt towards Lysette Anthony, playing Else Greer. Her hammy interpretation of the petulant 19-year-old mistress of Amyas Crale left me rolling my eyes and willing the play to end.
Other characters were not performed badly, as such, but they failed to make an impression.
The play itself was not badly staged, and the idea of flashing back to the fateful day of Mr Crale’s murder was presented well, with lots of little details included to help the audience guess whodunnit. The script kept up a fairly good pace – probably a testament to Christie’s storytelling ability – but I was not sufficiently drawn in by the performance for it to hold my attention as the evening wore on.
Once I had figured out the identity of the murderer, my interest waned considerably.
My applause at the end of the play was motivated more by gratitude for the fact that this lacklustre play had limped its way to a conclusion than for the performance I had experienced.