I took a chance on this one as it is completely outside of my comfort zone (I like to watch thrillers behind a duvet like normal people!); but on reading the story synopsis and the cast for it, I was enthralled and had to see it.
Not Dead Enough is the stage adaptation of the book with the same title by Peter James, and follows an investigation of a series of murders in the Brighton area. DS Roy Grace (Shane Richie) is head of the investigation and although it seems like a clean cut case there is something further chilling in the closest.
The story itself is gripping; whilst watching it, you too will be playing detective trying to piece it all together but I’ll guarantee you’ll not see what’s coming right until the last moment. And being on the stage rather than television made it much more intense and enjoyable because it didn’t feel predictable; it was as expected, enthralling, there is no clearer definition. I was on the edge of my seat, as were many around me, gripped by the complexity of the case, characters and circumstances. There are some elements of fright, suspense and timely comical moments; it’s a poetic concoction.
Shane Richie, best known for his portrayal of Alfie Moon in Eastenders, and Laura Whitmore, best known for her work as a presenter for MTV, are a winning combination; Shane was made for this detective role. He has the demeanour that commands the position but equally has that charm and sensitivity to not be clouded by ego which helps push the investigations further leading to that climactic moment where almost all is revealed. Laura as Cleo Morey was the surprising element. Having not seen her in an acting role before I was intrigued about her approach to such a prominent character; she was incredible. It’s particularly in the second act that we truly see her potential as an actor and this will just be the start. I hope to see her in much more in future.
However, it is Stephen Billington as Brian Bishop (best known for playing Greg Kelly in Coronation Street and Danny Lomax in Hollyoaks) that commands the stage. Brian is a complex character caught in the murder investigations who arguably has the most challenging role to portray with such a wide range of emotions.
But it is the cast collective that once again gives this production its full strength; Michael Quartey as Glenn Branson; DS Roy Grace’s partner, Gemma Atkins as Sophie Harington; Cleo Morey’s assistant and Bella Moy as Gemma Stroyan; detective. It is the entwining relationships of these characters that give the Not Dead Enough show its double-edged sword.
Production photos by Mark Douet