Review: The Business of Murder at Chesterfield’s Pomegranate Theatre

The Business of Murder starring Joanna Higson, Paul Opacic and Robert Gwilym at the Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield, from June 11 to 13.
The Business of Murder starring Joanna Higson, Paul Opacic and Robert Gwilym at the Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield, from June 11 to 13.
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Famous faces, first-rate acting, thrilling drama - theatre doesn’t get better than this.

The Business Of Murder is one of those rare gems that shines from the moment the curtain goes up and is still sparkling at close of play.

It’s undoubtedly the jewel in the crown of the spring season at Chesterfield’s Pomegranate Theatre and may well be the best thing on stage all year.

The thriller from the pen of Richard Harris hooks you in with its involved plot, throws in s a shoal of red herrings and leaves you reeling with its shock twists and turns.

Robert Gwilym of Casualty fame gives a masterclass in acting as the creepy oddball Mr Stone who lures a police superintendent and a television scriptwriter to his flat. He’s never off stage and entertains the audience with manic giggles, short sprints and a gleeful song and dance. His character’s fiendish side also horrifies as he revels in murderous deeds, using graphic language to paint absorbing, stomach-churning pictures with only a bloodstained towel as a visual.

Paul Opacic (from Emmerdale and Hollyoaks) gives an equally powerful performance in his role as handsome, hard-nosed law enforcer with a nasty streak and a bit on the side. Like the crazy Mr Stone, his character goes through the gamut of emotions playing the role of hunter and hunted, victimiser and victim in intriguing games of cat and mouse.

The voice of reason in this tense, topsy-turvy scenario belongs to the crime-obsessed scriptwriter who is the police superintendent’s mistress. Joanna Higson, best known for her role in Shameless, gives it her best shot as the fearless writer who stands by her work even though it puts her own life in danger and is used as an unwitting pawn in her boyfriend’s mission to claim the scalp of a serial killer.

Choking was one of the biggest threats to Joanna last night (Thursday, June 11) as as the copious number of cigarettes which Paul and she smoked during the performance brought on bouts of coughing from her and members of the audience.

The thriller unfolds ia small, cluttered flat where the kitchen, lounge and bathroom are on stage for all to see, set against a backdrop of overlooking houses and parked cars.

The Business of Murder really is the business. Catch it at the Pomegranate until Saturday, June 13.