Wholehearted performance enjoyed by Theatre Royal audience

The Irving Stage Company procuction of The Unexpected Guest at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds.

The Irving Stage Company procuction of The Unexpected Guest at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

Review: The Unexpected Guest, Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, Tuesday, June 6, until Saturday, June 10.

Action fgrom The Unexpected Guest. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Action fgrom The Unexpected Guest. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

A house full of suspects and a neighbour with eyes on the victim’s wife plus an uninvited man who is lost in the fog.

It all adds up to intrigue and mystery in the latest production from the Irving Stage Company.

Set in a country house in Wales this thriller from Agatha Christie opens when a stranger, lost in the fog, seeks refuge in a nearby house only to find a man shot dead and his wife standing over him with a smoking gun.

But the woman’s dazed confession is anything but convincing and the unexpected guest decides to help.

The Irving Stage Company procuction of The Unexpected Guest. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

The Irving Stage Company procuction of The Unexpected Guest. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant


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Remarkably, the police clues point to a man who died two years previously but as the ghosts of a past wrong begin to emerge, a tangled web of lies reveals family secrets and chilling motives.

The plot and intrigue is compelling and acted with great aplomb primarily by Angela Smith as the dead man’s wife Laura Warwick, Nic Metcalf as the unexpected guest Michael Starkwedder, Christian Jenner as the housekeeper Miss Bennett and the man hoping to solve the crime Stuart McLellan as Inspector Thomas.

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The support roles come from Hugh Weller-Poley, who plays the role of Jan Warwick, the mind-muddled and deranged brother of the deceased; Joyce Amtower as the dead man’s mother Mrs Warwick; John Hills as the inspector’s sidekick Sergeant Cadwallader; Adam Thurkettle as the dead man’s nurse; Nick Bennett as the prospective Liberal Democrat candidate and lover of Mrs Warwick Major Julian Farrar; and Darian Vomund as the crippled Richard Warwick, the victim of the crime.

This was a wholehearted performance by the cast.

A scene from The Unexpected Guest. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

A scene from The Unexpected Guest. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

And just when the murder seems solved Miss Christie pulls her almighty knock out punch.

For where the real murderer turns out to be the greatest mystery of all.

Russell Cook

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