Monday, November 28

Catch Me If You Can – The Alexandra, Birmingham

This thrilling mystery based on the play Trap for a Lonely Man by French writer Robert Thomas arrives in Birmingham this week.

Not to be confused with the Leonardo Di Caprio film of the same name, this American adaptation written by Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert, Catch Me If You Can tells the story of newly married Daniel Corban. Daniel and his wife have gone to the mountains for their honeymoon when Elizabeth Corban goes missing. While the police are searching, Elizabeth returns, but Daniel is adamant the woman is not his wife. Is he losing his mind or is something more sinister going on?

With a single room set throughout and a small cast, Patrick Duffy as Daniel Corban is on stage for most of the play. He convincingly portrays the desperation and determination of his character to be heard and believed. You feel for his character and want someone to take him seriously. Opposite to him in many ways is Elizabeth (Linda Purl). Her cool, confident and seemingly devious personality evident as she toys with her prey. Purl has almost two roles to play as her character changes from sickly sweet to dark depending on who she is with. The hapless inspector Levine is brought to the stage by Grey O’ Brien, he is more Columbo than Poirot, complete with the beige mac, but he brings light relief from the drama. The interaction and energy between these three characters fuels the performance. Other noteworthy performances are given by Ben Nealon as the suspicious vicar, Father Kelleher and Hugh Futcher who is the chatty and instantly likeable Sidney.

While there are no scene changes as such, the lighting design of Chris Davey subtly takes the action through the clock. The opening of act 2 sees a bright ray of sun streaming in, almost making you wish you were there. The set and costumes remind you of a 60’s American sit com and to start with the tone is the same with bright music as the curtain rises. It takes time for you to realise that there are darker things a foot.

Although this is a mystery the atmosphere on the whole is light and there is humour sprinkled throughout. Along with this though is drama and tension, if it were a book you wouldn’t be able to put it down. There is plenty to keep the amateur sleuth happy as more and more details are revealed. Catch Me If You Can is an intriguing and well-crafted play that is worth seeing.

Playing until 30th April,

Reviewer: Annette Nuttall

Reviewed: 25th April 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★