Twist is a comedy stage thriller by Miles Tredinnick, originally written in 1990 and first produced at the Pentameters Theatre in London under the title Getting Away with Murder.
The play is a parody of the traditional theatrical thriller, in which nobody is what they seem and nothing is what it should be. David Woods is a mild-mannered accountant who sees a sensational way of making a fortune by writing a kiss-and-tell biography about his bitchy wife Sarah, the nation’s favourite actress from the hit soap Doctors and Nurses. He then realises that his book will do even better if she is murdered first! His brother, Robert, is in on the plan, with South African Hannah Van Lee unwittingly accelerating the timing of the plot after a baggage mix-up at Heathrow. When David’s irritating caretaker Mrs Beck, calls the police about mysterious noises and gun shots she has heard, they send the strait-laced Inspector Root in to investigate – but things don’t turn out as they would at first appear!
As the audience entered the auditorium, they were able to see the impressively, well designed set by Joe Young and Chris Waters. Every inch of the stage had been utilised to show the open-plan living area of the first floor apartment that was the London home to David and Sarah. The comfortable lounge was stage right with David’s writing desk etc downstage right in front of the pros arch. The kitchen area, including a large dumbwaiter like disposal unit, where rubbish was sent down to the basement, was stage left with a breakfast bar downstage. The entrance to the apartment was upstage right with a window overlooking London apartment blocks back-stage right and an alcove-cum cloakroom leading to the bedroom back-stage left.
The playing of ‘If you go down to the Woods today’ was particularly well chosen as the opening music to each act – it was also used in a rather distorted way throughout the production during scene changes.
The cast was very well balanced and direction from Chris Waters was good with the ending of the opening act leaving the whole of the audience fascinated, and talking about it, throughout the interval.
Performances by Rob Meehan as the homicidal husband, David Woods, and Louise Farmer as the soap opera victim, Sarah Seeton were very good and competent – both actors managing their characters well. Helen Freebury as diamond smuggler Hannah Van Lee and Carl Horton as David’s bald headed brother Robert also played their characters well as they slowly became embroiled in the plot. As the irritating neighbour and caretaker, Lynne Young made the most of her meddling character bringing many smiles and chuckles with her every appearance and as the inquisitive Inspector Root, Les Wilkes portrayed his character well with a solid characterisation.
Lighting and sound was handled well throughout and props were exceptional. Pacing was good but it did slow down a little after the interval due to one or two prompts, however, this was only the second night and things would most certainly have improved during the rest of the run.
The company provided a confident and highly dramatic production of this rarely performed play for the audience, keeping them transfixed right through to the end.
Jean & Roger Cunnington, Birmingham & District Theatre Guild