This isn’t a sponsored post.
BrumHour saw Looking Good Dead at a matinee as arranged with The Alexandra.
For Brum Radio’s Interval Theatre, Dave Massey spoke to Harry Long about playing Roy Grace in Peter James’ Looking Good Dead. Listen below:
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
This production contains misogyny and adult themes.
Review: Looking Good Dead at The Alexandra
⭐⭐⭐⭐A strong crime thriller with some decent twists.
Directed by Jonathan O’Boyle adapted by Shaun McKenna from the novel by Peter James
Tom Bryce (Adam Woodyatt) brings home a USB stick that he found on the way back from Brighton. Tom and his son Max (Luke Ward-Wilkinson) make a grave error when they open the contents of the USB stick. Their lives are suddenly in terrible danger. Tom’s wife Kellie (Laurie Brett) is oblivious until Roy Grace (Harry Long) turns up on their doorstep with Glen Branson (Leon Stewart) from the local police force.
This is a decent crime thriller split into two fifty-something minute halves, it doesn’t take itself too seriously at times considering the subject matter of abduction and snuff movies. It highlights the darker aspects of individuals creating their own content and what they are willing to do for money and to feed audiences’ desires.
There’s a repetition of the number three throughout, three areas of the stage for the story to take place (The family home, the police station and a disused warehouse in Brighton) and most of the conversations that take place feature three of the characters, from Tom, Kellie and Max in the house to Roy Grace, Glenn and Bella Moy (Gemma Stroyan) at the police station and then two killers and their victim early in the story at the warehouse.
After the run of strong musicals at The Alexandra, it is very refreshing to have a Peter James novel return to the stage here, I previously saw The House on Cold Hill which and this is much more evenly split between the family story and the police investigating.
The modern set of the house is a huge contrast to the beams and chains of the warehouse. Then there is the bright police station with opaque white windows. Peter James’ use of tech is still a huge part of the story here as is the differences between how generations use tech too. The fact this story is actually from a 2006 novel is only evident in a couple of instances, Max says “The net” like looking online is what young people do and adults don’t, he also treats his parents like they are tech dinosaurs, but then they do have a landline so maybe they are!
I really enjoyed seeing EastEnders’ Laurie Brett and Adam Woodyatt here, though Tom Bryce shares quite a few of Ian Beale’s money-obsessed traits, they are fun to watch throughout, delivering strong performances. Laurie Brett’s Kellie has an issue with drink and how she treated one of those Love Island bottles made it apparent her character was drinking more than water.
Luke Ward-Wilkinson is great here too as the tech-savvy son and Harry Long plays Peter James’ favourite detective, very human compared to the Inspector Morse’s or Miss Marple. He’s all smart mouth and direct analysis and I’d like to see more of him in his this role.
A strong crime thriller with some decent twists, Looking Good Dead is at The Alexandra until 26th February 2022. The UK Tour continues until 30th April, see the tour dates here: peterjames.com/plays/lgd-tour-dates. See forthcoming productions at The Alexandra here: atgtickets.com/venues/the-alexandra-theatre-birmingham