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Sleuth | Yvonne Arnaud

Welcome to the Wiltshire Manor House of Andrew Wyke, where games and deception lie beyond the limits of his pen and paper. His guest is a certain Milo Tindle, a travel agent from the South of London. Now, what could these two vastly different men possibly have in common? Why, Wyke’s wife of course! The woman of supposedly lavish habits and taste for

expensive trinkets has been swept away by Tindle, leaving Wyke worried about his imminent financial ruin. So, he proposes a trick. Tindle is to break into the house to steal a tidy sum of money in the form of expensive jewellery. However, whether that be in books or in reality, things are never as simple as they first appear to be. This story is no different as the staged plan sets off a chain of rather unfortunate events filled with games and deceit, in the end

leaving the audience to wonder: what is real?

The set design (Julie Godfrey) is the living room of a beautiful country house, complete with its ornate staircase, balcony, and fireplace. To the right of the stage lies a terrifying life-sized doll dressed up in a sailor’s outfit, its facial expression likening a Jack-in-the-box. Controlled by a button near the fireplace, the doll often moves, changing direction to watch the story unfold under his very eyes. Ironically, it seems as though the only person not treated like a pawn in a game is the doll, the very object devoid of all feelings and with no free will of its own.

The play itself was written in the 1970s by Anthony Shaffer, and like many of the finest mystery stories, it is completely timeless. From start to finish, the audience is left wondering where Wyke’s imagination ends and reality begins, posing the very real question of ‘who is the sleuth?’ But a fantastic book would just not have that same effect if it wasn’t played by a fantastic cast. Replete with talent, the small cast is led by Todd Boyce and Neil McDermott in the roles of Wyke and Tindle respectively. They each deliver stunning, and at times chilling, performances, leaving the audience questioning at every turning point what is real, and what is fiction.

Sleuth is truly the world’s greatest thriller, and it looks like the most thrilling aspect of them all, is that those fortunate enough to witness this mystery unfold will never know the truth. Sleuth plays at Yvonne Arnaud Theatre until 27th April. For more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


Gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Jack Merriman


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