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 Connecting professional and amateur theatre in Newbury, West Berkshire and beyond

The Mill at Sonning - Killjoy

7th May to 6th June 2015.

Review from The Newbury Weekly News.

Killer thriller

Killjoy, at The Mill at Sonning, from Thursday, May 7 to Saturday, June 6

Whatever happened to the old-fashioned thriller, where multiple murders all took place over two hours and the detective, usually a gifted amateur, collected everybody together in a big room to reveal the killer's identity, two minutes before final curtain?

Well they don't write 'em like that anymore, but since the advent of Anthony Shaffer's Sleuth, way back in the 70s, thrillers have become wonderfully complex, full of fascinating twists and turns, unexpected revelations and, just before the end, it appears that nobody is really what or who they seemed at the beginning.

Killjoy, the new play at the Mill comes into the latter category, a really funny complicated, ridiculous set of characters and the cast played it up for all it was worth. The description comedy thriller hardly does it justice.

Top acting honours must go to Michael Lumsden as the rakish, womanising Max Bentley who plays TV detective Killjoy and Jessica Claire as the journalist appearing to want to work with him on his autobiography. Lumsden was suitably harassed, hemmed in by wife, agent and young journalist and Claire gave a strong performance as the lively Rosie, complete with a frighteningly real looking set of 'mad girl' facial expressions.

Sarah Berger brought authority to the part of Hermione, Max's long-suffering wife, and Zoe Lister did well as his agent Joy (and possibly his daughter from way back? I'll say no more, you need to see it).

Finally there is Simon Naylor, as Josh, who comes in as a morris dancer, then police inspector, then... Well I told you the plot was complicated.

Directed with pace by Ian McElhinney, this production is a world première of the play which, I would be prepared to bet, will be receiving many more performances in the future. We knew the cast were hamming it up all through - they left us in no doubt as they came out smiling and smirking all over their faces for the curtain call.