It’s perfect murder in new thriller for Les Dennis

Les Dennis in The Perfect Murder

Entertainer and actor Les Dennis made his first appearance in Corrie this week as a rather timid-looking burglar.

But if you want to really see his dark side then check out The Perfect Murder, a rather witty and clever thriller coming to Milton Keynes Theatre next week.

The experts would have us believe that you can get away with as the perfect murder.

Now, if you’re a crime buff like Victor Smiley (and, I have to admit, me) you can glean quite a few ideas from the TV.

From Agatha and Sherlock to the CSIs and NCIS, there are a myriad of ways to be found to finish someone off.

Crime writer Peter James (as opposed to that other crime writer PD James) has a hugely successful canon of books featuring top cop Roy Grace.

His best-seller, The Perfect Murder, features the mac-wearing detective as a modern day Columbo. It has been brilliantly adapted for the stage by Shaun McKenna.

I watched an earlier performance at Wycombe Swan and it was refreshing to watch a thriller with a sharp script that didn’t take itself too seriously.

The dialogue between bored Victor and his long suffering wife Joan (superb performances from Les Dennis and Claire Goose) absolutely bristled with insults and brickbats.

The pair bickered like..well..a husband and wife commemorating 20 years of marriage.

I’m not sure why either didn’t think to call in the solicitors and file for divorce – except that would have brought the play to an abrupt halt.

Instead both boiled with murderous intent.

Victor, a diabetic, overweight IT manager for the ninth largest egg box manufacturer in the UK, had slid seamlessly into a midlife crisis.

He spent his pennies on three sessions a week with a Croatian prostitute rather than make love to his lovely wife.

The rogue relaxed by baking (very new man) and harboured evil thoughts about doing away with his wife.

Victor’s mantra was WWSD – What would Sherlock do – and he readily admitted that murder was his hobby, watching every crime programme on TV to devise the perfect murder.

He’d already started the ball rolling by taking out life insurance on Joan years earlier and he kept a supply of cyanide in the shed. He’s even worked out an ingenious plan as to how to administer it.

Meanwhile his shelf-stacker wife had picked up the local taxi driver and was intent on a passionate affair – if only they could do away with her dull husband.

So the stage was set for murder with Det Con Grace (Steven Miller) the plod employed to solve the case – though relying on the help of a psychic prostitute is a big ask (can’t imagine Poirot or Grissom relying on such flimsy evidence).

It’s a thoroughly entertaining show that twists and turns and gives you a laugh along the way.

Joan’s sexy new boyfriend Don is played by Gray O’Brien who Corrie fans will remember as the evil Underworld boss Tony Gordon.

Dennis and Goose make a splendid double act.

Like comics before him the normally mild-mannered Les reveals himself to be a great character actor..

Ms Goose plays the femme fatale with conviction though her character falls into a bit of a stereotype in the second act.

The cleverly designed set ( by Michael Holt) combines the Smiley house with Kamila’s seedy brothel and the whole shebang is deftly directed by Ian Talbot.

The Perfect Murder runs MKT from Monday for the week.

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