The Longton Players
Alfred Shaughnessy boasts Upstairs Downstairs among his many TV credits.
Double Cut is a play he adapted from a 1958 Richard Todd film and it is a typical old-fashioned amateur stage whodunit, taking one back to the days of Agatha Christie.
Sheridan Rawlings was excellent as diamond heiress, Olivia Prescott, alone in her Spanish villa when a man purporting to be her brother calls on her.
She calls the police (Dan Haresnape very convincing as Inspector Vargas) but the man’s passport confirms he is indeed Ward Prescott (John Coxhead in the Richard Todd role).
It transpires diamonds are missing from her late father’s company.
The ‘brother’ has accomplices. He sacks Olivia’s maid, Maria (Maria Hindley) and replaces her with Miss Whitman (Nicola Hindley, who might be his mistress) and a butler, Carlos (Phil Lawson). Even her creepy Uncle Charles (Jeremy Winter) proves a turncoat and joins ‘the other side’. They prevent Olivia from leaving and make her sign a new will.
Where are the £10m diamonds? Can Ward really be the brother? Is Olivia deranged/lying/in grave danger?
With its cardboard characters and totally unrealistic plot, it really belonged to the 1950s along with pince-nez, antimacassars and Miss Marple.
Z-Cars changed all that.
But, in the end, it was a pleasant period piece, a trip down memory lane.
With piano music softly playing, the elegant set perfectly evoked the Costa del Sol.
I would wager few in the audience will have guessed the ending and the suspense was constant throughout.
It could almost have been one of those outlandish episodes of Midsomer Murders.