Dead Lies at Lichfield Garrick - Review

Dead Lies at Lichfield Garrick - Review


Posted 2022-05-27 by Tony Collinsfollow

Tue 24 May 2022 - Sun 29 May 2022

This intriguing political thriller from the pen of leading crime author Hilary Bonner would clearly constitute uncomfortable viewing for Prime Minister Boris Johnson and members of his Cabinet. Dead Lies , currently at the Lichfield Garrick theatre, tells the story of the rise of a new political party, and its charismatic leader with ambitions of walking through the door of Number 10. But, while Boris and the Conservatives are safe from any such challenge in real life, the play has numerous references to Partygate, which is once again topical given this week's publication into the long-awaited official report into lockdown drinking at Westminster. In fact, Dead Lies draws a number of titters from the audience within the opening couple of minutes as would-be PM Peter George makes a campaign speech about leaders drinking during pandemic restrictions while everyone else behaved themselves. Other up-to-date references include the war in Ukraine and the MP caught watching porn on his phone in the Commons, but Partygate is a running theme.

Away from the political finger-pointing, Dead Lies delivers all the ingredients for a cracking crime story, including murder, a potential sex scandal, indiscretions, and blackmail. There are so many twists and turns running throughout the plot that you really have to remain focused right up until the end of the two-and-half hour play. Rising political star Peter Guest, excellently played by former Holby City actor Jeremy Edwards, is well cast as the leader of the new People First Party which seeks to shake up the established political order. He says all the right things in his news headline guise of 'St Peter' as he travels on the campaign trail from his native Barnstaple in Devon to Sunderland in the North East.

But there are seemingly long-hidden skeletons in the politician's cupboard despite his wife Jo, well played by Portia Booroff, proclaiming "Peter doesn't lie, it's in his manifesto!" The hints at Peter's chequered past come in the form of blurry black and white video footage on a screen above the stage, seemingly showing a sexual encounter involving a woman and a couple of men. And then comes the sudden appearance of a friend from Peter's past 25 years ago which can only spell trouble for his ambitions to become Prime Minister as election night draws near.

The impressive line-up in this slick Red Entertainment production, well directed by Joe Harmston, also comprises Alicia Charles as Peter's 'queen of spin' press officer Kate Compton, Claire Dyson as troubled former model Stephanie Jones, Peter Rae as re-appearing old friend Marcus Cunningham, George Verghis as loyal campaign worker James Gillen, Neve Doyle as Det Insp Fellows, and Andrew McDonald as veteran political journalist Alan Parfitt. In fact, on a personal note, how refreshing to see journalists portrayed in a positive light for a change, so hats off to writer Hilary!

Rating: 4 stars

Dead Lies runs at Lichfield Garrick until Sunday 29 May before continuing its limited UK tour. Tickets for the Garrick, priced from £27, are available by visiting or by calling the box office on 01543 412121.

!date 24/05/2022 -- 29/05/2022
70681 - 2023-01-26 01:48:37


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