IN an age of TV channels showing dramas over six weeks or in three parts it's refreshing to have the chance to experience to enjoy a play where everything is wrapped up in a two-act, two-hour-20-minute package.

Bill Kenwright's Classic Thriller Theatre Company does just that with a veritable 'who's who' of stage and screen stars.

The prolific producer, who has had considerable success over the last decade with his Agatha Christie mysteries, now comes an adaptation from the late Ruth Rendell.

Although it's not the strongest story from Ruth's 80 novel archive, the production values here are first-class with an all star cast to match.

At the core of this thriller - written in 1977 - is class.

It is adapted by Simon Brett and Anthony Lampard who - unlike the novel - keep the revelation of the killer till the end.

Awkward Eunice Parchman, a strange nervy woman, is the first person we see as the curtain rises to show a splendid stately home set – we are in Lowfield Hall.

Sophie Ward plays this working-class housekeeper who is not what she seems. There's quite a chip on her overcalled shoulders.

The very slick single set and is aided by superb lighting throughout.

Directed by the accomplished actor Roy Marsden, a very clever flashback device is used.

Two detectives arrive to solve the murder case of a Valentine's Day massacre of the Coverdale family of four.

We travel back and forth from the present day to the build up to the actual murder night which creates a fair amount of suspense.

Wirral Globe:

Cast of Judgement in Stone. Picture: Geraint Lewis

Christopher Ellison, famous for his starring role in The Bill, is a no-nonsense DS Vetch brought in from London to co-assist the local copper.

There are some well-rounded performances from Richard Duncan as Mr Coverdale, Deborah Grant as Joan Smith as a born-again Christian and ex-prostitute-turned-post-mistress and Sally Anne Field as a rather odd cleaner with a telling stare.

Indeed every one of the cast contribute to a polished piece of drama including the step mum and step kids.

During the interval members of the audience were guessing the possible murderer weighing up the evidence and copious red herrings.

As in all respectful reviews of thrillers, I am not giving anything away.

But there is one subtle clue in the title.

Suffice to say, Bill Kenwright offers a traditional who-dun-it? but here with much more emphasis on the motive and a satisfactory investigation into 'why-did-they-do-it?'

Top-notch production - four stars

The show is at the Floral Pavilion until Saturday.

Tickets from box office on 0151 606 6666.