Death Knell a classic thriller
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.