Saturday, June 15

Tag: Wish You Were Dead

Wish You Were Dead – The Alexandra, Birmingham
West Midlands

Wish You Were Dead – The Alexandra, Birmingham

I’ve never heard of Peter James, but to be fair he’s probably never heard of me. So, when his voice echoed around the auditorium of the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham last night we all felt we’d been given special treatment. Though rumour has it Dolly Parton used to do it on “9 to 5”. It added an element of personal involvement and validation as James wouldn’t personally be joining us that night. Now there were those in the audience last night who may have regarded what followed as preposterous hokum, cut and pasted from the Crime Writer’s Handbook riddled with a litany of hackneyed cliches smothered with lashings of clunky exposition. But no, I disagree. At first we’re confronted by a selection of our favourite mystery tropes - a crashing storm, no wi-fi, electricity gone out and the...
Wish You Were Dead – The Lowry
North West

Wish You Were Dead – The Lowry

The line between amateur and professional theatre is a lot finer than many people realise. Sometimes it is the best am dram performances that remind one of this fact. Other times it is pro productions that feel second best. Wish You Were Dead is, sadly, an example of the latter. This isn't the first of Peter James' bestselling Roy Grace stories to be adapted for the stage but, if the formula has worked well previously, it doesn't quite deliver here. The show is very heavy on exposition, very light on character development. There are a fair few plot points and devices which would have probably been given ample time to develop in a novel but which feel thrown away, redundant or downright confusing in a two hour stage production. These problems are then compounded by some lower grad...
Wish You Were Dead – Leeds Grand
Yorkshire & Humber

Wish You Were Dead – Leeds Grand

One of the less appealing gigs for critics was watching creaky touring versions of Agatha Christie novels, so thank god best-selling crime author Peter James spotted a gap in the middle market for stage versions of his work. Wish You Were Dead features his most famous creation, the deep-thinking Brighton detective Roy Grace, and many of the audience will have been attracted by the popular ITV series. This play is based on a quick read novel as Grace takes a much-needed break in France with his pathologist wife Cleo and baby son Noah. Along with their American nanny Kaitlynn they tip up at a run-down French chateau to be met by a surly maid and there's a missing copper.  As is tradition in crime capers nothing is as it seems, so can the wily Grace talk his way out of some s...
Wish You Were Dead – Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
Scotland

Wish You Were Dead – Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Coming less than a week after the final episode of I.T.V.’s “Grace”, this is a timely outing for a play adapted by Shaun McKenna from the Peter James novel featuring Detective Superintendent Roy Grace.  The inspiration for the novel stems from a less than comfortable stay James and his wife experienced at a French chambre d’hote while on holiday in the south of France.  However, anyone expecting a gritty thriller with D.S. Grace driving the investigations will be sorely disappointed by this play, which is performed mostly for laughs and is more of a comedy horror than serious murder mystery.  As with any detective story, it would be unforgivable to give away the entire plot, (not that there are any real surprises), but the crux of it is that the holidaying Grace, played by ...