September 23, 2010 Leave a comment
at Leighton Buzzard Theatre, 23rd September 2010
Thrillers seem to be all the rage at the moment, with Ghost Stories and Death Trap recently becoming hits in London’s West End. Now, Leighton Buzzard Drama Group is joining in the party with Ann Kempster’s intense and ambitious staging of Robert Thomas’ “Trap For A Lonely Man”.
Daniel Corbain’s wife has been missing for days but when a random woman appears claiming to be his spouse, his life falls into disarray as people around him variously support and reject his claims. Revealing anymore would be bad form in a review for a thriller, but rest assured there are sufficient twists and turns to keep the audience on the edge of its collective seat.
Act One takes a while to pick up and often feels slow, lacking much pace, but once introductions have been made the play really begins to become enjoyable. The comedy missing in the first half is found after the interval, at times turning the thriller into a genuine farce. Robert Thomas’ writing does at times feel a little contrived, but this is remedied by one self-aware exclamation that “I didn’t think this sort of thing happened in real life!”
The cast play off each other well, and each relationship has clearly been carefully considered. Lainy Ward as the Inspector and Carl Russell in the role of the Priest are both subtle, bringing out a truthfulness not found in other parts. Kim Aguilar as the supposed wife is thoughtful but lacks real duplicity, while Bob Kempster brings welcome comic relief as the Tramp. The stand out performance however is found in the central role, played by Randell Moll, who shows a man slowly breaking down and on the verge of madness. His final few scenes are extraordinarily intense and Moll leads us on his journey with ease.
Ann Kempster’s production is one of contrasts, placing a warm cream set and lighting against a dark story and perfectly pitching performances and situations against each other so that we are constantly left guessing the truth, right up until the final curtain. Try and work out the answer before the end, and if you do, make yourself known. You’re the kind of person we need on the police force.