Peter James’ Not Dead Enough is running at the King’s Theatre until Saturday 29th April. Bringing crime scenes and mortuaries directly to the stage it is an interesting attempt to transfer the popular crime dramas on the TV to the stage. It certainly brought the audience in – the auditorium was full of people who clearly followed both James’ book career and have an avid interest in crime dramas.
The storyline itself was not the strongest and would fall under the predictable category but none the less it was remarkably entertaining. A little lengthy, the script was more suited to television than stage, the plot was well developed and not too convoluted. It was interesting enough to keep the audience’s attention with twists and turns woven throughout the story making the audience jump on occasion. As mentioned before the story was extremely predictable, each new development being something the audience had already guessed but ruled out given that surely the plot couldn’t be that simple and silly.
The characters were one-dimensional with the male characters experiencing the greatest character development whilst the female were pretty restricted to one-liners or slightly stereotypical exchanges (such as attempting to educate the investigator on psychology to make him a better man). The serial killer’s chilling and calculating nature was reduced by his many evil spiels where he lauded his achievements and explained his cunning plan in excruciating detail to the audience to ensure they understood the simple plot.
The set and tech was very simple. The set was very versatile, split into three sections; the mortuary, the police station and the interview room. The mortuary was raised above the main stage and there was one heart stopping second where one of the actors had been tied in a chair and was pushed by the villain towards the edge and the audience gasped as we thought she was going over the edge. The police station and interview room were as to be expected but were well laid out to provide a good view for the audience at all angles. The tech complemented the set well but was nothing spectacular. There were many opportunities were haze or blackouts could have added to the tension and atmosphere of the play.
Despite the plot simplicity and length of the show it was a very easy play to follow and become involved in. I was amazed how easily I became invested and how entertaining the story was. It was a very enjoyable night that would be a good trip out for all ages as there were lots of different aspects that would appeal to different individuals.