Review: Write Me a Murder, Suffolk Summer Theatres. St Edmunds Hall, Southwold,

Write Me a Murder, by Frederick Knott, Suffolk Summer Theatres. St Edmunds Hall, Southwold, until August 4 and Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh August 7 – 11

The black sheep of the family, David Rodingham, is intent on rescuing his ancestral home – despite the ambitions of his money-squandering elder brother, Clive, who is entertaining a buyer even before his father breathes his last .

He lets the estate go for a low price in a deal which provides him with quick money.

When David falls for the buyer’s wife, an aspiring writer, she inadvertently helps him to concoct a plot for the perfect murder.

So proceeds Knott’s clever play about greed and sibling rivalry.

Jonny McPherson, as Clive, and Mark Jackson as David, work well together, creating a constant edge of tension between the brothers.

McPherson, particularly, is very comfortable on stage as the unscrupulous Clive while Jackson creates a totally believable character as David – reserved and charming on the outside but ruthless within.

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Simon Snashall brings a fine sneering crudity to the character of Charles Sturrock, the social climbing former village grocer’s son turned wealthy businessman who has big plans for the Rodingham Estate and beyond.

Kate Middleton is delightful as his spirited wife, Julie, a young woman who refuses to be cowed by her husband’s bullying and who soon becomes attracted to David, already a successful writer.

Jill Freud, who this year passed the reins of the summer theatres on to a new management company, gives a solid performance as Dr Woolley, the family GP.

Knott’s ingeniously devised play is full of unexpected twists and turns and, in the hands of director, Phil Clark, grips the attention throughout.

David Green

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