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Review: Spider's Web offers thrilling humour, high jinks and murder most comedic

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If you thought a murder couldn’t be funny ­— think again.

Spider’s Web, the second of the three-strong Colin McIntyre classic thriller season at Nottingham Theatre Royal, delivers humour, hijinks and most importantly, a murder.

In her drawing room, in rural Kent, Clarissa Hailsham-Brown (Lara Lemon) is preparing for her Foreign Office diplomat husband’s important visitor, for whose arrival everything must be perfect.

Spider's Web at Nottingham Theatre Royal.
Spider's Web at Nottingham Theatre Royal.

Discovering a body behind the desk is less than ideal, and so begins an elaborate and hasty plot to dispose of the evidence ­— hindered only by the sudden and apparently unprompted arrival of the police.

Lara Lemon is showstopping as lady of the house, who has a penchant for tall tales and, to her frustration, is most believable when she is lying.

The rest of the household is an odd bunch, a bumbling and bewildered GP (Andrew Ryan), stately Sir Roland Delahaye (John Lyons), charming young Jeremy Warrender (Christopher Brookes) and hearty gardener ­— who is of course more than just a gardener ­— Mildred Peake (Susan Earnshaw).

Spider's Web at Nottingham Theatre Royal.
Spider's Web at Nottingham Theatre Royal.

The cast’s accents are impeccable and their manners believable ­— successfully transporting the action back in time to 1953.

Agatha Christie’s classic gets the whole audience laughing, with perfect comedic timing and jokes that still ring true today ­— in a play where corpses fall out of secret cupboards and rent, to everyone’s amusement, is only four guineas a month.

Long suffering Inspector Lord (George Telfer) and ‘not Welsh looking’, but very much Welsh, Constable Jones (Ed Telfer) quite unwittingly unravel a web of lies and discover that very little is as it seems.

But just when you think you’ve finally figured it out, attention switches to the person you would least expect and the murderer is revealed ­— just in time for the visiting diplomat. ­— EG

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