Review: Dead Reckoning, by Eric Chappell, Suffolk Summer Theatres, Southwold & Aldeburgh

Dead Reckoning by Eric Chappell
Directed by Anthony Falkingham
Richard Emerson as 'Todd'
Photos c

Dead Reckoning by Eric Chappell Directed by Anthony Falkingham Richard Emerson as 'Todd' Photos courtesy of Stephen Wolfenden Southwold Summer Theatre - Credit: Contributed

Dead Reckoning, by Eric Chappell, Suffolk Summer Theatres, St Edmunds Hall, Southwold, until August 3 and Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh August 6 – 10.

Suffolk Summer Theatres, St Edmunds Hall, Southwold
Dead Reckoning by Eric Chappell
Directed by An

Suffolk Summer Theatres, St Edmunds Hall, Southwold Dead Reckoning by Eric Chappell Directed by Anthony Falkingham (left to right) Jamie Chapman & Katy Federman Photos courtesy of Stephen Wolfenden - Credit: Contributed

Renowned artist, Anthony Reed, harbours a burning but impotent desire to avenge his wife’s murder by killing the man convicted and jailed.

But, when confronted with the opportunity to get someone else to perform the act, will he have the nerve to go through with it?

Chappell’s psychological thriller - laced with mind games and the occasional comic line - certainly has some totally unexpected twists and turns to keep the audience engaged although the ending, despite a final twist, is rather underwhelming.

Jamie Chapman is convincing as the bad-tempered artist, wrestling with the past and haunted by images of his dead wife amidst the debris of his failing relationship with second wife, Megan, his former mistress.

Despite some irritatingly repetitive “hand through the hair” gestures, Chapman gives the part fantastic energy and focus.

Katy Federman gives a feisty performance as the ruthless Megan, a woman apparently prepared to sanction her husband’s involvement in a dastardly crime – if only to get their marriage back on track.

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Jonathan Ashley brought real menace to the part of Slater, Todd’s “debt collector” assistant, an ex-con with an enormous chip on his shoulder.

As Todd, the mysterious “contract killer”, Richard Emerson, standing in following the late withdrawal through personal reasons of Clive Flint, made light work of having to refer to the script in this opening performance and, with the ensemble efforts of the rest of the cast, the plot constantly gathered momentum.

Emerson is the consummate actor – well “in the part” and providing a solid foundation for all that is going on around him.

While not in the same “well made play” mould as An Inspector Calls, the season’s opening production, Dead Reckoning has – in the hands of director, Anthony Falkingham and his cast - enough ingenuity to keep audiences on the edge of their seats.

David Green

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