22nd Jul, 2019

The Malvern Theatre experience remained in the mind

Malvern Editorial 5th Jun, 2019 Updated: 5th Jun, 2019

ANTHONY Horowitz has quite a pedigree as an author and television scriptwriter, including new Sherlock Holmes and James Bond novels plus several episodes of Midsomer Murders and Foyle’s War.

As far as I am aware Mindgame, which he originally wrote as a novel is his only adapted stage play.

With such an illustrious pedigree I had high expectations of an evening of tense drama. However what was on offer was in my opinion a potboiler than never really reaches boiling point.

The company is just a three-hander comprising Andrew Ryan as a writer, Mark Styler, Michael Sherwin as Farquhar a Psychiatrist at the Fairfields Maximum Security Psychiatric Hospital and Angie Smithas Nurse Paisley. They are all competent enough – but not compelling.

In fairness in act one they battle valiantly with a storyline that takes an age to get going – with little to relieve the tedium of a one room set. I’m not going to give away any spoilers in case you go to see it for yourself but Farquhar is a leading exponent in the use of role-play to treat his patients – and therein lays the plot.

Act two has much more going on with a neat twist at the end.

One small point I found incredibly frustrating – Styler pleads for a light for a cigarette several times over and when he is eventually given it – mimes! Breathing and blowing invisible smoke in ecstasy looked stupid. Cut the lines or smoke a harmless herbal but don’t introduce stage sham to an arena where we are already asked to believe in a pretty unbelievable plot.

The best thing for me about the evening was the ‘Malvern Theatre’ experience where the staff are friendly, excellent coffee and cookies, the seats comfortable and the setting unbeatable – a theatrical jewel in an emerald crown.

My final word on ‘Mindgame’  it was one of those shows that will do well at seaside theatres in the English summer where you wander into to escape the rain – it’s better than being out in it – marginally!

The show runs until Saturday, June 8.

Click here for more information and tickets.

Review by Euan Rose.

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