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Rehearsal For Murder at New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham - Review

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
Event: -
Solve the mystery of who killed Monica Welles
This superior 'Whodunnit?' has an impressive pedigree. Penned by Richard Levinson and William Link, the duo behind crime classics like Columbo and Murder She Wrote, and directed by TV's Inspector Dalgliesh himself, Roy Marsden, it's hard to see how it could fail to get amateur sleuths in the audience puzzling over the guilty person's identity.

Set in a West End theatre in 1989, the audience is transported back 12 months, via a series of flashbacks, to the night actress Monica Welles was found dead. It is believed she took her own life but her fiance, playwright Alex Dennison, is convinced she was murdered - and is sure he knows who the murderer is.

Rehearsal For Murder, Review, New Alexandra Theatre Birmingham
The usual suspects?: The cast of Rehearsal For Murder


Alex sets out to reveal the culprit with an elaborate ploy that, exactly a year after the tragedy, brings together the actors, producer and director associated with the play Monica starred in the night she died. By re-examining Monica's interactions with each person Alex hopes the murderer will be unmasked.

Robert Daws, known for his roles in The Royal and Jeeves and Wooster, dominates the stage as Alex Dennison, always in control of the situation as if he is playing a game of chess.

His real-life wife, Amy Robbins, also a regular on The Royal, hams it up as an actress with, maybe, just one last shot at success in the theatre.

Rehearsal For Murder, Review, New Alexandra Theatre Birmingham
Whodunnit?: See Rehearsal For Murder and find out


The rest of The Classic Thriller Theatre Company, a new ensemble assembled by Bill Kenwright, don't put a foot wrong. I particularly liked Robert Duncan (Drop The Dead Donkey) as an ageing leading man and Steven Pinder (Brookside) as director Lloyd Andrews. Honourable mentions to Susan Penhaligon as producer Bella Lamb, Lucy Dixon as ambitious starlet Karen Daniels and Ben Nealon as rising star Leo Gibbs.

Did I work out who did it? Yes, I did, but I do watch a lot of television murder mysteries. My advice is to watch closely and listen carefully to every word that is said - the clues are all there in this cleverly crafted piece.

Rehearsal For Murder, Review, New Alexandra Theatre Birmingham


Rehearsal For Murder is at Birmingham's New Alexandra Theatre until Saturday, April 9.

It then continues touring the UK:

Apr 11 - 16: Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford;

Apr 18 - 23: Fairfield, Croydon;

Apr 25 - 30: Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham;

May 9 - 14: Belgrade Theatre, Coventry;

May 16 - 21: Palace Theatre, Southend-on-Sea;

Jun 20 - 25: MK Theatre, Milton Keynes;

Jun 27 - Jul 2: Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury;

Jul 4 -9: Grand Theatre, Leeds;

Jul 11 - 16:Theatre Royal, Brighton;

Jul 25 - 30: Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield;

Aug 1 - 6: Playhouse Theatre, Weston-Super-Mare;

Aug 22 - 27: Theatre Royal, Glasgow;

Aug 30 - Sep 3: His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen;

Sep 12 - 17: Princess Theatre, Torquay;

Sep 19 - 24: Orchard Theatre, Dartford.

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Why? Superior murder mystery
When: In Birmingham until April 9, 2016, then touring till September 24, 2016
Phone: 0844 871 3011
Where: New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, then touring
Cost: 16.90 - 38.40 plus fees
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