REVIEW: Dangerous Corner, Theatre Royal

Plunged in darkness, we open with a gunshot and a shriek of horror.The Caplans are entertaining family friends in their grand home, the ladies sitting in the drawing room listening to a radio play. When the men join the party and the conversation turns to the suicide of close family member Martin, we find ourselves in the middle of a messy scandal. Promising each other to tell the truth, each character slowly reveals secrets of the past with devastating consequences.

Finty Williams is particularly watchable as Freda Caplan with fantastic delivery and presence. Kim Thomson, too, is quite excellent as Olwen Peel. Michael Praed’s Stanton is slick and sophisticated. Gary McCann’s designs are simply stunning. The set is a grand art deco affair of browns and golds, the costumes lavish and stylish.

Although Priestley himself stated that his “plays are meant to be acted, not read,” the complexities of Dangerous Corner beg for a reading of the script, a mapping out of the curious plot and an analytical viewing, if only to applaud the intricacies employed by Priestley and so cleverly exposed throughout the play. Yet still something holds the production back. As a visual piece, it is incredibly static; characters move from chair to chair and pace the floor between long sections of dialogue – enjoyable but slow to develop. When the plot twists come they are compelling enough and the final denouement makes it all worthwhile in the end.

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