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South East
posted/updated: 23 Mar 2019 -
Bad Blood
Richard Stockwell
society/company: Cowes Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society (directory)
performance date: 22 Mar 2019
venue: Trinity Theatre, The Grove, Cowes, Isle of Wight.
reviewer/s: Cheryl May (Sardines review)


Bad Blood is one of those thrillers that has suspense and plenty of twists. Written by Richard Stockwell, this modern thriller, from the author of Killing Time, has all the vital components of a believable thriller; character flaws, betrayal, secrets, subterfuge, plot twists and the inevitable murder.

The action of the play is set in the upmarket home of husband and wife, Tom and Vic, outwardly an ideal couple with everything money can buy, except a longed-for child. Smokey, a scruffy chancer lets himself into the house and hides when Tom and Vic return. When confronted by Vic it soon becomes apparent that Smokey is not the opportunist thief we suspect him to be, as he warns her that her husband Tom wants her dead. There follows a terrifying sequence of events as Tom’s past catches up with him and relationships are put to the test. There are undercurrents of jealous passion and sexual tension which inevitably lead us to the thrilling climax. That’s as much as I am revealing as this thriller does exactly what it says on the tin and I don’t want to spoil the story for the audience.

Pete Harris has great physical presence as the unkempt Smokey, yet conveys a certain vulnerability, especially when he is double-crossed and again when he realises the ramifications of his involvement.

Kevin Wilson and Nessa Law give powerful performances as Tom and Vic. Kevin Wilson comes into his own in act two as the drama unfolds, playing a convincing drunk but still very much in control of the action as Tom challenges Jack and propositions Belinda. Kevin Chance as Jack, Tom’s best friend and solicitor, moves from charmer to the more sinister schemer with ease. Sarah Kellett delivers a credible performance as Belinda as the deception unfolds, and good comic timing when she asks Tom if he is going for the full set. Sarah needs to project more as some of her dialogue is lost.

Sound effects are effective and Peter Ferguson ensures that the lighting heightens suspense throughout. The set looks good and French windows allow the characters to enter and exit when we least expect it. Costumes suit the characters well.

I do enjoy a good thriller and director Dinah Bowman can be congratulated on this production. There are some very uncomfortable situations, but that is the nature of this play. Nonetheless Bad Blood certainly keeps the audience guessing until the end. Well done to all involved on what is compelling production.

Bad Blood continues Saturday, 23rd March then 28th, 29th, 30th March at Trinity Theatre, Cowes.


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