Review of Wish You Were Dead at The Alexandra, Birmingham

Review of Wish You Were Dead at The Alexandra, Birmingham


Posted 2023-06-30 by Andy Colemanfollow

Tue 20 Jun 2023 - Sat 24 Jun 2023

What is the result of crossing a cosy Agatha Christie mystery with a violent crime thriller, a black comedy and a gothic horror story? It could be Wish You Were Dead , the stage adaptation of a short story penned by Peter James. It's at The Alexandra in Birmingham until June 24, 2023. There is added interest in this production thanks to the success of the ITV television series Grace, starring John Simm as DSI Roy Grace. Wish You Were Dead also features the character of DSI Grace, played on stage by Casualty star George Rainsford .

Katie McGlynn, George Rainsford and Clive Mantle, stars of Wish You Were Dead

The story follows Roy, his wife, Cleo, new baby Noah and an American friend as they take a holiday together in a French chateau. Cleo hopes that she will finally get Roy to herself for a few days and away from his crime solving exploits. The first half plays out like a classic Christie whodunnit as the holidaymakers find themselves marooned in the gloomy chateau with only a strange French woman and her reclusive father-in-law for company. There is no phone signal or internet access, the electrics are dodgy and they are surrounded by creepy furnishings and paintings, including a suit of armour that moves and the mounted heads of boar and bison on the wall. The group’s friend Jack was supposed to have met them at the chateau but he is nowhere to be seen. Very mysterious.

The second half turns into a very different play, thanks to the introduction of somebody from Roy Grace’s past, played by another Casualty star, Clive Mantle . Without revealing too much, violence and death is never very far away as the plays begins to echo the thriller elements of the TV series.

Thriller: Katie McGlynn in Wish Your Were Dead

There is an undercurrent of black humour throughout, especially from Clive Mantle who is obviously relishing his role. George Rainsford is solid as Roy Grace, if a little one-dimensional, while former Coronation Street actress Katie McGlynn , making her professional stage play debut, puts her heart and soul into the role of Cleo Grace, but has a tendency of shouting, rather than speaking, her lines.

There is more humour from Rebecca McKinnis as the ‘strange French woman’ Madame L’Eveque, the owner of the chateau. Her ‘Allo ‘Allo accent and grumpy demeanour made me think I was watching a comedy sketch, which made the change of gear in the second act all the more baffling. I wish Wish You Were Dead had made up its mind what sort of play it really wanted to be.


220477 - 2023-06-21 11:29:15


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