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Talisman Theatre review: Witness for the prosecution

Witness for the Prosecution, Talisman Theatre, Kenilworth, until February 8.

A veteran lawyer receives in his chamber a young wideboy, nervous that his friendship with a rich older woman will be called into question now she had been found dead.

He doesn’t have long to discover his fate as the evening paper is delivered, declaring a search for him, and policemen turn up to arrest him, in this Agatha Christie classic set in the 1950s.

The scene then moves on to the court room, where Leonard Vole goes on trial for the murder of Emily French. There, a stream of characters give evidence before a stern judge, and the audience, who are given a jury’s-eye view.

The Talisman cast have thrown their all into it, and brought out the humour in quite a few lines, but on the first night nerves may have led to the prompter being used, and quite a bit of talking over each other.

Neil Vallance was central as lawyer Sir Wilfred Robarts, directing proceedings, while Matt Baxter as Vole became more confident in the role after the first of the three acts. Siobhan Twomey was steely as Vole’s glamorous European wife, grateful to him for rescuing her in wartime, but her accent crossed the German/French border at times. Wendy Morris shone as housekeeper Janet MacKenzie, bitter at being done out of her inheritance by her boss’s new friend.

Needless to say, as the last scene draws near all is not as it seems and a swift succession of new clues and twists leave the audience gasping with surprise and still piecing it all together at the end.

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