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Review: Murder in the Dark comes to the Cambridge Arts Theatre





Written by Torben Betts, directed by Philip Franks and produced by Original Theatre, the team behind the hit production of The Mirror Crack’d by Agatha Christie, this new play – described as a “spine-chilling ghost story, turned psychological thriller” – stars seasoned star of stage and screen Susie Blake and Tom Chambers, known for, among other things, Holby City and Casualty.

Susie Blake in Murder in the Dark. Picture: Pamela Raith
Susie Blake in Murder in the Dark. Picture: Pamela Raith

Speaking to Susie before the play came to Cambridge, she told me how she is relishing playing such an ‘out there’ character – and her character ‘Mrs Bateman’ certainly is that!

Beginning in a seemingly light-hearted way, this well-told story, which has some great moments of humour, gradually descends into something much darker.

The gloomy scenery adds to the foreboding atmosphere and as the play went on, I started to feel an ever-increasing sense of dread (as I did when I watched the animated film Coraline), fearing that despite all the levity, something awful was about to happen.

Murder in the Dark. Picture: Pamela Raith
Murder in the Dark. Picture: Pamela Raith

All of the actors did very well in their parts – especially Susie Blake, whose complex character (is she bad or is she good?) has some of the best lines – and there were some subtle clues fairly early on that things weren’t quite as they seemed.

The play kept me guessing throughout and as the second act progressed, it certainly didn’t go the way I thought it would, which can only be a good thing. I would therefore have no hesitation in recommending Murder in the Dark to fellow theatre-lovers.

I’ve witnessed a few disappointing productions at the Cambridge Arts Theatre over the years, but the venue has been on a stunning roll of late with the last three plays I’ve seen there – I’m Sorry Prime Minister I Can’t Quite Remember, The Circle and now Murder in the Dark leaving a lasting impression. Long may it continue!

Tom Chambers and Susie Blake in Murder in the Dark. Picture: Pamela Raith
Tom Chambers and Susie Blake in Murder in the Dark. Picture: Pamela Raith

[Read more: Susie Blake relishes playing ‘out there’ character in Murder in the Dark]

Murder in the Dark runs at the Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday (10 February). Tickets, priced £20-£40, are available from cambridgeartstheatre.com.



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