The Case of the Frightened Lady at the Connaught Theatre, Worthing – review

The Case of the Frightened Lady comes to the Connaught Theatre with a new cast
The Case of the Frightened Lady comes to the Connaught Theatre with a new cast

The Classic Thriller Company brings the spine-chilling murder mystery The Case Of The Frightened Lady by Edgar Wallace to the Connaught Theatre in Worthing this week.

A stylish and lavish production, it features an enormous set, depicting the grand ancestral home of the Lebanon family.

There are great, tall stained glass windows, elaborate arches and stunning furnishings.

The only downside is the whole play is set in the hallway, with doors off in every direction, and at the start there were people coming and going like a Benny Hill sketch.

What really did impress from the off were the costumes, as Lady Lebanon, played by Deborah Grant, hosted a costume party.

Deborah, a long-standing actress known most recently for Not Going Out, was marvellous in the role of the head of the household desperate to hang on to her ancestry.

In steps Robert Duncan as the rather slimy Dr Amersham, a man who must know the family’s darkest secrets. Remembered for Drop the Dead Donkey, he was assured in the role.

Joshua Wichard was bright and lively as the chauffeur Studd and we were not able to see the nature of his demise, only hear about it, as it happened off stage.

Finally, the man we have all been waiting for, John Partridge, recent winner of Celebrity MasterChef and a well-known actor on stage and screen, arrived on the scene.

As Inspector Tanner, he was firm, considered and upstanding but I found his style of speech a little odd, almost like he had forgotten what a full-stop was for, and others in the audience were heard to say they found it difficult to understand what was being said.

Matt Lacey was a good sidekick as Detective Sergeant Totti, the young policeman with ‘modern ideas’.

Fresh from Downton Abbey, Matt Barber was comfortable in the country house setting, striding around the stage as Lord Lebanon.

We really should mention the ‘frightened lady’, Scarlett Archer from Emmerdale, who gave some blood-curdling screams. She developed the character well as the pressure to marry Lord Lebanon was piled on by his mother.

The plot is complex with various red herrings, as you might expect, and when the full truth is revealed, it does come as a surprise, just as you would hope in a good murder mystery.

Take your seats at the Connaught Theatre from tonight to Saturday at 7.30pm. Tickets from £26 to £30, with concessions. Visit https://worthingtheatres.co.uk for more information.

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