It seems appropriate that one of the characters in Sleuth spends a significant amount of time in a clown suit, as this production milks the comic potential of Anthony Shaffer’s twisted script.
On the opening night, underwear and cushions were hurled about with reckless abandon, threatening to bring down bits of the set. And Michael Praed finally fell foul of his size 27 feet in a pratfall behind the sofa, which appeared to leave him and co-star Simon MacCorkindale as convulsed with laughter as the audience. Whether by accident or intent it was as well executed as the rest of this slickly performed show, which also relies on deliciously barbed dialogue for its humour.
Casualty star Simon MacCorkindale tells Alison Jones why he has packed away his stethoscope and returned to the stage.
It is always a challenge following in the footsteps of an actor who has become irrevocably associated with a part.
Particularly if that actor casts as long a shadow as the late Sir Laurence Olivier.
In the recent film remake of the thriller Sleuth, director Kenneth Branagh rather cleverly got round the problem by having Michael Caine swop roles.
In the 1972 Joseph L Mankiewicz version, Caine played Milo Tindle, the upstart young lover of Olivier’s wife who is unwillingly drawn into an elaborate battle of wits.
In 2007 it was Caine’s turn to play the vengeful, cuckolded husband (Andrew Wyke), with Jude Law repeating another Caine role after already starring in Alfie.
For the stage production currently doing the regional rounds, comparisons to Larry are avoided by the fact that Andrew, played by Simon MacCorkindale, has effectively been aged down and Milo, played by Michael Praed, aged up.