Death Knell a clas­sic thriller

Stratford Press - - News - By ILONA HANNE

TET Cue Theatre’s cur­rent pro­duc­tion of Death Knell will have the au­di­ence on the edge of their seats.

A clas­sic thriller from the pen of James Ca­wood, the play con­tains plenty of plot twists to keep you guess­ing right to the end. With just four char­ac­ters, there is lit­tle room for er­ror and the four ac­tors rise to this chal­lenge.

The scene, a home in the re­mote Scot­tish High­lands, with a lake just me­tres away, was set as soon as the cur­tain rose thanks to ex­cel­lent stag­ing de­sign com­bined with sound and light­ing ef­fects.

At­ten­tion to de­tail helps the ac­tors tell the story be­liev­ably. The sound­scape, in­clud­ing boots crunch­ing on gravel, wind, stormy wa­ter, car doors slam­ming and a tele­vi­sion in an­other room was well thought out and con­vinc­ing.

At times, Ca­wood’s plot twists stretch a lit­tle thin, and it is full credit to the cast and di­rec­tor for mak­ing them as con­vinc­ing as pos­si­ble.

Si­mon Buick’s por­trayal of Henry Roth, the cyn­i­cal play­wright was ex­cel­lent through­out, bal­anc­ing black humour with the dark and tor­tured Henry. Henry has plenty to say, and one can only ad­mire Si­mon’s skill in re­tain­ing so many lines and mono­logues, de­liv­er­ing them with mean­ing and pur­pose. Henry is more a char­ac­ter you love to loathe, but Si­mon’s in­ter­pre­ta­tion gave depth to the role.

Kather­ine Wolfe, as Henry’s wife Eve­lyn, is a good scene part­ner for Si­mon, and un­der the di­rec­tion of Lois Sibt­sen the two ac­tors work well to­gether to paint a pow­er­ful pic­ture of a mar­riage in cri­sis with el­e­ments of psy­cho­log­i­cal abuse.

Kather­ine at times had to call for a line, but gen­er­ally man­aged to mask her tem­po­rary blanks by adlib­bing around them while stay­ing in char­ac­ter as neu­rotic and emo­tion­ally needy. Over­all, Kather­ine gave a good per­for­mance as the young tro­phy wife, trapped in a re­la­tion­ship with a man who is gaslight­ing her. It was in the sec­ond act that Kather­ine seemed to fully bloom, with her por­trayal of Eve­lyn gain­ing strength, and build­ing up to the dra­matic fi­nale.

Tyler McGone, play­ing young hope­ful ac­tor Jack, took a dif­fi­cult and chal­leng­ing role and made it truly his own. It’s hard to write a re­view of a thriller with­out giv­ing too much away, but suf­fice to say Jack, as played by Tyler, fooled the au­di­ence as much as the char­ac­ter he set out to fool!

Steve Hob­son, play­ing the part of In­spec­tor Lazan, was great fun to watch.

The role could have been writ­ten for him, as it re­ally seemed to suit him. He took the ec­cen­tric­i­ties of his char­ac­ter and made them his own, cre­at­ing a fun char­ac­ter who brought some much needed light­ness to the story be­ing told.

With so many plot twists and turns, it is a credit to the small cast that they kept ev­ery­one watch­ing in the edge of their seats through­out the play and man­aged to main­tain the sus­pense so well.

While the team at TET Cue Theatre don’t of­ten put on thrillers such as this, there is no rea­son they shouldn’t do so more of­ten, as they clearly have plenty of tal­ent both on and back stage to be able to bring plays like this to life.

Si­mon Buick and Kather­ine Wolfe (front) with Steven Hob­son (be­ing stran­gled) and Tyler McGlone are all ready to scare you in Cue Theatre’s lat­est thrilling pro­duc­tion.

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