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Love From A Stranger - Colin McIntyre Classic Thriller Season Review

Reviewed by Mark Johnson

Disclaimer - ticket was gifted in return for an honest review

Mystery and intrigue fill the stage at Nottingham's Theatre Royal as the Colin McIntyre Classic Thriller Season returns for its 36th year. The season opens with a staging of Agatha Christie and Frank Vosper's Love From A Stranger.

The play opens in the flat of Cecily and Mavis in London, the pair are looking to sell the flat and have put it on the housing market. A mysterious gentleman calls and arranges a viewing. We also discover that Cecily is seeking to break her engagement with her long-time fiancé Nigel.

Lara Lemon (Cecily) and David Osmond (Bruce)

The mysterious gentleman, Bruce Lovell, arrives and instantly sparks with Cecily and a whirlwind romance begins leading to a fast-tracked marriage and a move to a country cottage. What unfolds from here leads to a tense conclusion as truths are exposed and the past catches up.

Lara Lemon gives a compelling Cecily, she is in command of her emotions and a woman who knows what she wants especially when those around her advise her differently. Lemon impressively conveys emotion and her key central performance is impressively driven. David Osmond also gives a performance that is full of mystery as Bruce, he comes into his own in the second act when you get to see him at full range with the character's emotion.

Susan Earnshaw has a hoot as Cecily's aunt Louise, she is somewhat of a Hyacinth Bucket-like character and Earnshaw delivers some wonderful humourous quips. Sarah Wynne Kordas as gardener Hodgson is well rounded and very watchable as is Juliette Strobel's bumbling housemaid Ethel.

Kia Pope is lovely to watch as Mavis, the friendship that Pope and Lemon create is rather wholesome and this allows for Pavan Maru's Nigel who is jilted to get his chance to at least remain amicable with Cecily. Jeremy Lloyd Thomas is great as Dr. Gribble, who himself is a key part of the mystery unraveling.   

Kia Pope (Mavis) and Pavan Maru (Nigel)

Sarah Wynne Kordas also provides the set design and the set evolves from the flat in the first half into the country cottage in the second. It's a clever well thought out bit of design that instantly sets the scene. Michael Donoghue's lighting adds to the intrigue that is created throughout and comes to the fore in the finale. 

A few plot holes aside, such as why is nobody actually checking the dark room or why is Cecily so carefree to sign her money away, and the fact that the conclusion for me felt a little obvious but it's all performed with such great skill that you soak it up and it's a superbly watchable mystery.

Love From A Stranger plays at Nottingham's Theatre Royal until Saturday 5th August. The Colin McIntyre Classic Thriller season continues with Father Brown - A Crime at Christmas, Murderous Liaisons and Snake In The Grass. Tickets are available for all four productions from

David Osmond (Bruce) and Susan Earnshaw (Louise)

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