The Case of the Frightened Lady

The Classic Thriller Theatre Company’s The Case of the Frightened Lady, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, until 4 August

The stage is set.  It is 1932 and the stunning Marks Priory hallway is festooned with heraldic shields, evocative of history playing a significant part in the plot.

Preparations are underway for the fancy dress party with staff and family coming and going and orders being given.  Deborah Grant, of television’s Bergerac fame, plays an excellent deluded Lady Lebanon who is always harking back to the past and desperate to continue with tradition and further her family’s bloodline.

The evening’s celebrations are interrupted by the discovery of our first victim by her niece, the youthful Isla Crane.  Poor Isla becomes increasingly uneasy and frightened as the play unfolds.  So who dunnit?  Who had the motive?  A possible “act of revenge” is mooted for the killing.  The questioning points to a few potential culprits who have a link to the Indian style of execution including one of the creepy footmen who are always eavesdropping in the wings.

The conniving and lecherous Dr Amersham (Denis Lill) seems a likely contender for the murder and his sudden richness, coupled with frequent visits to Marks Priory are enough to arouse suspicion.

The wardrobe department is to be congratulated on the attention to detail in the appropriate costumes of all the cast.  Both Isla and Lady Lebanon are beautifully dressed with suitably sparkling jewellery.

Chief Superintendent Tanner’s thorough investigations lead to a dramatic and tense dénouement.  Any noteworthy occurrences are highlighted by an extremely loud clap of thunder which nearly makes you leave your seat.

This is an enthralling production.  This star-studded cast, whose television and film credits include Casualty, Coronation Street, Harry Potter and the detective series Taggart and Bergerac, expertly portray the strained characters in this thriller.

Enjoy this highly entertaining adaptation of one of Edgar Wallace’s most celebrated works.

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