Paul T Davies reviews Roger Mortimer’s Comic Thriller Guilty Secret presented as part of the Frinton Summer Theatre Season.
Frinton Summer Theatre Season
13 July 2021
A huge welcome back to Frinton Summer Theatre, Britain’s longest surviving weekly rep theatre. Obviously, the pandemic put the scuppers on their 80th anniversary last year, but now the 80th season has arrived, and is greeting with joy and relief by an enthusiastic and loyal audience. They also get what they want and need from the opening show, Roger Mortimer’s comedy-thriller, Guilty Secret. Two unsavoury villains, George and Lennie, kidnap a wealthy heiress, Charlotte, assuming her father will easily pay the ransom. Nothing, however, goes to plan.
A play of this nature requires patience, as the first half contains a lot of exposition, and it’s delivered with lightness and ease by Paul Ansdell as George, a likeable bad boy indeed! Less of a whodunnit and more of a “How are they going to get away with it?”, the pay offs in the second act are greeted with gasps and delight by the audience. (No spoilers here, which makes it tricky for me to describe without giving anything away!) Luke Lane is hilarious as the “gormless” Lennie, getting laughs throughout, and Jemima Watling is a feisty Charlotte. It’s a shame that the excellent Charles Davies is underused by the script, as he is a most admirable Crichton. The taut script is performed well by the company, directed with a sure pace by John D. Collins, and it’s a satisfying night out.
Praise must go to Sorcha Corcoran’s set, costume designer Neil Gordon, the excellent lighting and sound design by Pip Thurlow, and the wonderful front of house staff who made sure everyone felt safe and communicated clearly how the evening would go. There are many more delights to come, so check out the programme on their website and make sure you experience Frinton Summer Theatre.