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Peter James Wish you were dead artwork

all about theatre four star review

Peter James is an International best selling Crime thriller novelist who has written 36 novels and sold more than 21 million copies of his books. His Detective Superintendent Roy Grace series is what he is best known for & it has now been turned in to an ITV drama series called Grace.

A number of Peter James Novels have now been adapted for the stage including Looking Good Dead, The House On Cold Hill, Not Dead Enough, The Perfect Murder & Dead Simple.

His latest stage offering Wish You Were Dead has been adapted from one of his quick read stories from the Roy Grace series. This story takes the characters out of their normal environment as they venture out for a nice relaxing holiday to France however it ends up being a holiday from hell. Peter James based this story on his own experience of a holiday disaster in France which he took with his wife back in 2018.

Peter James Wish you were dead production shot Katie McGlynn as Cleo Grace

Roy Grace (George Rainsford) & his wife Cleo (Katie McGlynn) along with their baby Noah, the nanny Kaitlynn (Gemma Stroyan) & her partner Jack (Alex Stedman) embark on what they had hoped to be a relaxing holiday in France. Jack ( a police officer & colleague of Roy's) was travelling separately to the others and had arranged to meet them at the chateau but when Roy and the others arrived Jack was not yet there. Upon entering the chateau they realise that it was not what they had expected from the photos they had seen online, it was a bit dilapidated and old fashioned with stuffed animal heads mounted on the walls, creepy painting and a huge suite of armer on display in the lounge. Upon meeting their host Madame L'Everque (Rebecca McKinnis) they discover that not only is there no phone signal but their is also no WIFI, this makes Cleo eager to leave but Roy convinces her to at least stay for one night. the next day Jack has still not arrived and as they have no means of contacting his they start to worry about his wellbeing. As time goes on they realise something isn't quite right and Cleo & Kaitlynn discover that their host's are not who they claim to be resulting in Roy & his family being in danger.

Peter James Wish you were dead production shot George Rainsford & Katie McGlynn as Roy & Cleo Grace

The Set designer Michael Holt has done an excellent job on the set which caught my eye as soon as I walked in to the auditorium. It looked like a very creepy old house with lots of detail and I had to go to the front of the stage to get a closer look so I could take everything in. The set had two stories to it the lower part was the lounge of the chateau with a sofa, table and chairs, some stuffed animal heads on the walls and a big suit of armer holing what looked like a halberd. The second story featured a bedroom which consisted of a large bed, drinks trolly, dressing table and a huge painting of a crucifix on the wall. The set also had a hidden room on the upper level which was hidden by a gauze screen and with clever lighting effects you could see what was behind the screen and into the hidden room.

Peter James Wish you were dead production shot George Rainsford & Katie McGlynn as Roy & Cleo Grace

The cast were all fantastic, this play is Katie McGlynn's (Coronation Street, Hollyoaks) stage debut and I thought she did an excellent job of portraying Cleo Roy's Pathologist Wife. Stand out performances for me came from Rebecca McKinnis ( Dear Evan Hansen, Everybody's Talking About Jamie) & Clive Mantel (Casulty, Vicar of Dibley), who played Madame L'Eveque & Curtis both brought a bit of humour to their rolls with their sarcastic wit and deadpan delivery, also loved Rebecca's France accent. We had Jayda Kariuki on for the role of Kaitlynn, she is the understudy and I thought she did an excellent job.

Peter James Wish you were dead production shot George Rainsford  as Roy Grace & Clive Mantle as Curtis

I have never read any of Peter James novels nor have I seen any of his other stage shows or the TV series Grace, so I was coming into the play blind not knowing any of the characters or there backgrounds. Luckily you don't need to have seen or read any of Peter James previous work in order to enjoy this one as it works great as a standalone piece.

I did find the first act a little slow to get going but by the time the interval came I was gripped and couldn't wait for the second act, the pace definitely picked up in the second act and I was hooked.

I really enjoyed Peter James Wish You Were Dead, I think it is an excellent crime thrill that will have you on the edge of your seat.

Wish You Were Dead is on at The Lowry until 27th May you can purchase tickets by clicking on the button below.

If you would like more information about the play and see where it will be touring to please click the button below.

*Our tickets for this show were kindly gifted in exchange for an honest review


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