Lichfield Garrick Theatre
Wednesday 25 May 2022
Review – By Jono Oates
My second visit to the Garrick in two days, and this time it was a touring production, Dead Lies, performed by a cast from the stage and screen, and written by the award-winning crime novelist Hilary Bonner.
The play was staged in the main auditorium and while Monday’s play in the Studio theatre focused on the world of local government and local politics, Dead Lies is set in the world of national politics, featuring the battle to become Prime Minister, rather than the battle to become the deputy-chair of the local library sub-committee.
Dead Lies is a fast-paced, razor-sharp and black-inky-dark political thriller, from the pen of Hilary Bonner, who has now written over twenty books, many of them with the same style and feel. Originally a journalist with the Daily Mirror, and then the Show Business Editor with the Mail on Sunday, Hilary uses her experience of journalism, and reporting, to good use in constructing this gripping, and at times chilling, story, which is a murder mystery, a political drama and has a shocking ending, with the perfect twist in the tale for good measure.
Dead Lies starts at the lead-up to a national election in Britain. The traditional parties are fighting for power but there is also a ‘new kid on the block’ with a radical approach to politics and a young, enigmatic leader. Peter George is the leader of the recently-formed People First party. His political dogma is one that many politicians aspire to, but that few deliver…he aims to tell the TRUTH.
The opening scenes show Peter on the campaign trail, touring round the cities of Britain promoting his political ethics and receiving a rapturous response from an adoring public as he becomes the man of the moment, the prince of the polls and referred to by the press as Saint Peter.
As his star continues to ascend, and he gradually narrows the gap between the front-running Conservatives in the ratings, a shadowy figure from his past emerges with an astonishing revelation from Peter’s past, which challenges his image as a squeaky-clean, nothing-to-hide politician and threatens to ruthlessly derail his relentless charge to the top job in British politics.
As more home truths bubble to the surface, and the truth behind the his youthful misdemeanour is revealed, Peter comes under a more and more pressure as the day of the General Election dawns – so will he eventually be given the keys to Number 10? Will he be able to cope with the backlash from the once adoring public and press? And what are his friends and loved ones prepared to do to ensure that he completes his climb to the top of the British political tree?
An experienced cast keep this political thriller moving along smoothly – Jeremey Edwards, formerly of Hollyoaks and Holby City, plays Peter George, Portia Booroff is his supportive wife Jo, Peter’s publicist is played by Alicia Charles and his secretary James is George Vhergis, while Claire Dyson is the former 1990s supermodel Stephanie Jones.
The script is kept on track with references to recent political shenanigans and court cases, so is right on trend, and although the main plot is dark and brooding, there are some great one-liners with a knowing nod to the current incumbents in power, which provide light amongst the shade.
The set design is superb, with a series of moving columns dissects the stage, creating a whole range of rooms and locations, while a backscreen video details the unfolding drama through the eyes of the TV news channels.
Dead Lies is a modern crime thriller, well told, acted and produced with many twists and turns, allowing the audience to work out their own version of whodunnit, or whydunit, with a starkly bleak ending that will make sure you do not leave your seats until the lights go up.
Dead Lies, by Red Entertainment productions, is on at the Lichfield Garrick Main Theatre, from Thursday 26 May until Sunday 29 May. Performances start at 7.30pm with a matiness performance on Sunday 29 at 2.30pm. Ticket prices start from £30 and are available from the Garrick Box Office, ring 01543 412121 or book online at: