A Judgement in Stone
Reviewed by Refinne Lleryt
A Judgement in Stone, a Ruth Rendell thriller set in the 1970s comes to Milton Keynes.
In an era where class clashes with social values and the need of working class woman to be accepted, from start to finish A Judgement in Stone is on point in all things theatrical. The one set scene admirably depicted a drawing room in the Suffolk country home of the Coverdale family. The storyline cleverly springs back and forth from the present day murder investigation to the past where we relive the build up to a horrific Valentine’s Day affair.
Detective Superintendent Vetch (Andre Lancell) and Detective Sergeant Challoner (Ben Nealon) use their ironic chemistry to examine the prospective murderers.
A working class housekeeper Eunice Parchman (Sophie Ward) whose body language paints the thousand words bears a lifelong secret of pretence and anguish takes up a position in a middle class household. The high spirited lady of the house Jacqui (Rose Thompson) is pleased with her new acquisition and thinks she’ll fit in nicely with the delinquent gardener of questionable disposition and roving eye (Anthony Costa) whom she secretly admires as well as her cleaner Eva Baalham (Shirley Anne Field) who saunters around her duties.
The action unfolds when Eunice who struggles to fit in is befriended by the insalubrious post master’s wife Joan Smith (Deborah Grant) whose historic chequered past now reformed, leads her to incessantly spouts biblical expletives, and condemnations to the ungodly proceeds to gets Eunice involved a cultist religious group she belongs to, much to the disapproval of the master of the house George (Mark Wynter).
What transpires through a succession of interweaving scenes are layers of intricate sets of relationships and states of affairs which culminated in the cold blooded termination of the complete Coverdale family – audacious father George (Mark Wynter), his ever enthusiastic wife Jacqui (Rosie Thompson and their children Melinda (Jennifer Sims) and Giles (Joshua Price).
This narrative cleverly tackled social class themes that resonate today and explored the nature of human fallibilities. Seamless scenes flawless acting and well timed one liner and many laughs out loud moments make this adaption a theatrical experience to remember.
Monday 24th – Saturday 29th July 7:30pm
Wed and Sat mat at 2.30pm
MK Theatre’s Box office 0774 871 7652