Preview: Go Back For Murder, King’s Theatre

ADAPTED by Agatha Christie from her novel Five Little Pigs, Go Back For Murder is set in 1968, with key scenes replayed from a murder in 1948. Those flashbacks are heralded by a sudden flash but, happily, not everything is so clearly telegraphed, as this fun whodunnit flits with predictable unpredictability from one suspect to the next, dangling various red herrings along the way.

The original novel featured the legendary Hercule Poirot, and while there may be some regret at the absence of ‘ze little grey cells’ from the stage version, there is a host of telly talent on show, including Liza Goddard (mercifully no one felt tempted to shout ‘give us a clue’), Robert Duncan and not one but two ‘faces of the 80s’ in Lysette Anthony and Sophie Ward.

Ward carries the dual roles of Carla le Marchant investigating the death of her mother Caroline Crale, who she plays in the flashback scenes. This arguably proves fairer on her than the rest of the cast, for whom being transported 20 years into the past is maybe a slight reach.

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In the first act, Carla questions the five suspects individually. These scenes are entertaining enough, especially with Goddard and Anthony, even if they don’t really advance the plot much beyond various characters laying on with a trowel how much Carla looks like her mother, paving the way for the dual role in the second act.

The pace changes post-interval, with scenes leading up to the murder shown from the various characters’ points of view and with the introduction of Amyas Crale (Gary Mavers), self-absorbed artist, mysoginist and drunkard; a typically Christie ‘victim’ who had it coming from all corners, laying motives at every door in short order.

The finale is just as you’d want, suspects gathered in a country house. Our investigator, rather than Poirot, is young lawyer Justin Fogg (Ben Nealon), the dependable and increasingly alluring presence for our heroine throughout.

Facts summarised, motives scrutinised, the Evening News can exclusively reveal that... well, no. Find out for yourself at this nicely diverting show, well worth dragging yourself away from ITV3 for.

Run ends Saturday