It is 1932 and Edgar Wallace, the writer who famously gave us King Kong, along with a string of crime novels and plays, is found in his study receiving a call from his publisher.
The deadline for his next novel is tomorrow morning and he has not written so much as one word. Calling upon his wife, secretary, butler and gardener for assistance, Wallace sets about improvising the plot for his new thriller, The Case of the Frightened Lady.
Hurling themselves from one character to the next with the help of costume additions and accents, Miracle Theatre’s five actors treated the audience at the Omnibus Theatre, Clapham to an uproarious two hours of “play-within-a-play” farce.
Fast-paced and slick, it barreled along to the novel’s conclusion, sending up the thriller genre and even doffing a hat to Cluedo with the discovery of a length of lead piping in a drawer.
The set was inventively used throughout the piece as the group attempted to turn Wallace’s study into various Frightened Lady locations and the talented ensemble cast were clearly having a great deal of fun bringing Bill Scott’s dynamic script to life.
A special mention must go to the versatile Jo Bowis for her characterisation of both the Frightened Lady herself, Isla Crane, and the sinister butch butler, Gilder, who walks like John Wayne and has a facial affectation. Tom Adams too, as the hammy amateur dramatics-enthusiast gardener, hilariously morphed himself into various roles including the eccentric Dr Amersham and camp toff Willie Lebanon.
This is Miracle’s 35th year of producing and touring innovative theatre around the country from its home in Cornwall, and it has once again delivered a hit.