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Review: Go Back For Murder at the Floral Pavilion
BILL Kenwright has some strong local fixtures this week - and we don't mean football – on either side of the river.
Despite living in London for the past 48 years, the true-blue Evertonian chairman and theatre impresario has been back home to where his heart is, here on Merseyside.
His production of Blood Brothers at the Liverpool Empire is receiving rave reviews, and in this lovingly-assembled Agatha Christie work, Go Back For Murder, Bill has another winner on his hands.
He has painstakingly adopted the Official Agatha Christie Theatre Company Ltd, which represents some of the biggest names in TV and stage, in recreating the timeless work of prolific mystery writer Christie.
Bill and his slick touring production team play by the book when it comes to bringing the work of the enigmatic lady wordsmith to life.
If you enjoy the books - and a team of accomplished actors portraying the suspects - then these dramas are definitely for you.
This tale does not feature her most famous sleuth, Hercule Poirot, but instead it's a lawyer called Fogg who demystifies the story as it progresses.
You have to work hard to follow the narrative in the first act, but there are no distractions so dialogue is the key.
Those familiar with Christie's Five Little Pigs won't be disappointed in this respectful adaptation directed by Joe Harmston, and the word-play between the characters is complemented by a clever backdrop.
And what a team list Kenwright has assembled. During the interval, I set myself a mind quiz remembering productions they had all starred in - a touring who's-who. There's Liza Goddard, Robert Duncan, Lysette Anthony, Gary Mavers, Ben Nealon and Sophie Ward.
The first act is quite static as the background to the plot-line is mused over.
The second, after the audience have pondered the complexity, picks up great momentum and you feel as if you are watching a film - with some neat flashbacks.
The atmospheric set by designer Simon Scullion is as subtle as the script.
The whodunit revolves around the death of a murdered artist (played by Liverpool's Gary Mavers) and asks why, and who would want to do that - his pictures weren't that bad.
But can I give you a clue? The Globe can disclose that the butler didn't do it, but the final denouement when all is revealed - like mentally unraveling a ball of wool - is pure, classic Christie.
Kenwright, in his admirable tenth year at the helm of this great artistic project, is helping keep the Christie name alive.
Happily, her superbly-crafted characters would agree it's a worthwhile cause - even those who meet an untimely death at her hands.
Globe Rating: 8/10 Well-crafted murder mystery.
Go Back For Murder is at the Floral Pavilion until this Saturday, November 2.
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