Imagine returning from a pleasant anniversary celebration to find that your house has been burgled. In this witty thriller, the culprit is still in the house and, for a while, he convinces the returning couples that he is a policeman.
Unmasked as the thief, Spriggs reveals that he knows a number of uncomfortable truths that could disrupt two seemingly happy marriages and one formerly strong friendship.
Intimate productions are my favourite. A small cast and lots of scenes with just two people, the effect is intense and dramatic. In this production of Theft, directed by Richard Llewellyn, the set is cosy and inviting, with plenty of surprises.
The cast is strong and the energy flows well between the actors. Each of the couples has secrets to hide and there are many knowing looks and shifty glances. What is most impressive is the comic timing. Our sneaky thief Spriggs is played exceptionally by Adrian Wyman; his acting is natural, with wonderful facial expressions and he knows when to pause a little longer for dramatic effect.
The two couples (Shelley Scripps and Andrew Tidbury and Di Wyman and Graham Breeze) have easy chemistry and there are some lovely scenes where we see a different side to each character. Di Wyman is a convincing drunk, but her character really blossoms in Act II; her stage presence is excellent and she’s a joy to watch.
There are a few slipped lines, but on opening night this is expected – especially after a 2-year hiatus – and these are recovered well.
Llewellyn’s direction ensures that the audience’s attention is kept; there is plenty to see and a high level of detail, especially to some of the props. The safe was excellent, as was the cameo appearance from Barbara Hooton.
Eric Chappell’s script is still very funny and the few jokes that haven’t aged well disappear amidst the clever remarks and the actors’ handling of the lines.
A fantastic production.
This amateur production of Theft was presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals (Samuel French Ltd).