REVIEW: Dead Guilty, Connaught Theatre, Worthing

Jenny Funnell and Ben Roddy in Richard Harris' Dead Guilty
Jenny Funnell and Ben Roddy in Richard Harris' Dead Guilty

IT was hard to know what to make of Dead Guilty, Richard Harris’ psychological thriller, at the Connaught Theatre in Worthing.

There was some quality acting in this afternoon’s performance but the constant dimming of the lights made it hard to concentrate and spoiled the continuity.

There was only one set, the flat of Julia, who had survived a car crash in which her lover died of a heart attack.

But there were quite short scenes, with the lights dropped at the end of each to mark the progress of time. Sometimes there was only a few minutes in between patches of darkness.

The title implied murder and although things got underway with a scream, it was a long time before it became clear who was going to be killed by whom.

Julia, played superbly by Anna Brecon from Emmerdale, was battling her physical injuries as well as her own guilt, compounded by the fact her lover’s wife wanted to make friends.

Jenny Funnell, from As Time Goes By, was perfectly cast as Margaret, the bossy wife who just wanted to help people, or so she said.

As the plot developed it all became quite sinister and I think most can think of someone they know who becomes overbearing with their so-called helpfulness.

Ben Roddy as Gary provided an excellent red herring, constantly blamed by Julia for mysterious breakages and missing money, leaving us questioning who was telling the truth.

The dramatic ending developed as a stunningly sinister closing, but it still felt something had been lacking in the build up to it.