Review: The Business of Murder, Library Theatre

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Richard Harris’s psychological thriller is a cat and mouse affair. There are many twists as the balance of power shifts between vengeful Stone and illicit lovers, Detective Inspector Hallett and TV crime writer Dee Redmond.

It starts off straightforward enough with a seemingly timid and anxious Stone, exquisitely played by Michael Bullock, helping Hallett with a drugs bust. However when Hallett leaves, Stone dons gloves and appears to be planting incriminating evidence against him for an unknown crime.

When Dee appears an initially ingratiating Stone becomes increasingly unhinged as he imagines what would happen were her crime stories to become true.

Then there are three. As their shared history is revealed and skeletons appear, a happy ending seems decidedly remote.

All the players do incredibly well with intricate dialogue and a plethora of props.

It is fascinating to watch Bullock’s range as he first simulates anxiety, then later becomes downright creepy as he torments an increasingly panicky Dee.

Nathan McNicholas plays Hallett with arrogant authority. His prosthetic paunch suggests too many drinks with the lads from the police station.

Jo Hadjioannou is his lover, Dee, who hopes he’ll leave his wife one day. She appears to sympathise with Stone, despite his frightening revelations.

Harris demands your concentration not only because it is an absorbing play but since every word and action is essential to understanding the final startling conclusion.

The awful truth is that once one is accused of a crime, it sticks with you whether you are innocent or not.

Stephen Grigg