Inspector Drake Review

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Inspector Drake & the Perfekt Crime

Q2 Players

Alexandra Hall, Kew Community Centre
22 November 2013

This is a ‘really twisty thing’,  and at times ludicrous play – a pastiche of the crime thriller genre which was popular in the 1950s and 60s , written by David Tristram. It contained some very old jokes and situations, bodies behind the sofa, the introduction of an identical twin, ‘wicked Uncle Ebenezer’,  together with lots of innuendo and mistaken identities.

Yet…………… it proved to be a super evening’s entertainment and all the audience, including the Mayor of Richmond upon Thames, left at the end with a smile on their faces ,saying what Fun it had been. Just the thing to brighten up a cold and dreary November evening but not for an in depth, deeply psychological review.    So here goes!

The production by Cat Lamin was sharp and sassy , the costumes,  set and props very much of the period and the sound effects and music well judged . An unusual puppetry film opened the show and set the tone for what was to follow – a nice innovation for Q2.

Inspector Drake, Tristram’s Sherlock Holmes (even down to the violin}, is called in to solve what is initially a missing person’s enquiry but this soon develops into a complicated and unbelievable murder mystery. Hugh Cox was ideal as the over confident but slightly baffled Inspector, assisted by Scott Tilley as the faithful but dim Sergeant Plod. Scott made the most of the many comic opportunities of the part and highlights included getting his hand stuck in the flower pot, drinking the sulphuric acid (!) and most of all fainting full length onto the carpet. Scott is not a small man and the way this was done (twice) was physical theatre at its best and most comedic.

Dr Short, the husband of the missing person who somehow (don’t ask me!) gets confused with a warthog, was played by Tony Cotterill.   Tony, despite wearing shorts and a solar topee in a flat in London, managed to convey a mixture of evil and charm, combined with genius at chess, chilling at first but becoming more and more ridiculous as the convoluted plot unfolded.

Sophie Flowers and Katie Holmes gave strong support as the daughters, one or both of whom may have been imposters but who both became objects of Inspector Drake’s amorous intentions, always of course thwarted at crucial moments by the arrival of Sergeant Plod. Sophie turned out to be surprisingly good shot when the three flying ducks fell from the wall with immaculate timing and her reactions throughout were very much in the ‘spoof’ style of the show.

Timing – the essence of  farce –  was quick, taut and slick and the jokes and word play came thick and fast but not so fast that the audience didn’t have time to react. This was an excellent production.

 Q2 Players next tackle Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett – another fantasy – let’s hope they bring the same commitment and sense of fun to Discworld!

Mary Stoakes