Nick Le Mesurier reviews Not Dead Enough at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
You might say this is a play of two halves, almost. The first half plodding, dull, the actors going through the routines of what has become a fairly standard mix for a crime drama: mad but fiendishly clever serial killer; detective with a past, whose girlfriend becomes a vital pawn in the killer’s depraved scheme; side-kick policeman who never quite gets it, thus enabling the detective to explain his thinking, which of course is confused by a whole shoal of red herrings. As it’s the post Shades of Grey era, throw in a bit of S&M offstage, and it’s job done.
Fortunately, much of the second half was of a different order. Maybe it was because the script forced the actors to work in the interrogation room, thus narrowing the focus and increasing the intensity, but there was a palpable sense of tension as DS Roy Grace (EastEnders star Shane Richie) parried with his nemesis, played by Corrie star Stephen Billington. To be fair, Shane Richie does a good job throughout as the weary detective, but here he comes into his own as he battles his doubts as well as the evidence in this otherwise weird case.
Sadly it ended in a return to predictable stuff. There is a twist at the end, of course; the villain explains his villainy in a cackling rage; and the conclusion rounds off with a joke that explains the title.
The stars of this show drew a full house, which got their money’s worth, though I felt they deserved better.
* Not Dead Enough was reviewed on March 27. Visit www.belgrade.co.uk for details of forthcoming shows.