A night at the theatre is as much a part of London life as an afternoon at the pub or our unreliable tube service. Still, while the musicals and celebrity-starring productions pull in the tourists, those with a more discerning taste can take in an altogether more reflective and topical type of play.
Over at the Tabard Theatre, Alec Harris’s latest production, ‘Murder Me Gently,’ is based around the startling true stories of the murders of Russian journalists such as Alexander Litvinenko and Anna Politkovskaya.
Played out by an outstanding international cast and set in the world of film noir the play draws reference to current media stories including the Russian sleeper spies caught in the US and UK as well as the upcoming World Cup.
Still, this is a play for an evening’s entertainment and comedy and drama is expertly woven to the storyline to further illuminate the abuses of human rights and military oppression in modern day Russia.
Like many Russian spy novels, the story begins when a Russian Journalist is shot dead on her doorstep. A conman and an Interpol agent unite to wreak revenge on the people they believe responsible: the Russian Mafia and the CIA. But while all’s fair in love and war, little is even in the world of international espionage.
As the characters find themselves further entwined in each other paths and investigations, relationships become more complex. Who’s fooling who is not what you thought and whose side each other is a mystery. Then there’s the matter of inflicting a little revenge on an ex…
Writer Alec Harris, author of over a dozen plays including the internationally acclaimed ‘Crossroads Country’ and ‘Writers Block’ has had his work directed on four continents in five different languages and has been featured on CNN, the BBC, and NHK in Japan.
Talking on his ‘policom’ genre of scripting, a weaving of politics and comedy, Alec says: “I found that more political plays are also the most funny. It’s not just a case of needing a little bit of sugar to help the medicine go down but we learn more from humor than we do from any other genre.
“Political plays get a bad name but all plays are political to some extent. The beauty of a play is that unlike a movie, which might take two years from conception to production, a play can take as little as two months. It’s not just topical, but reflective of the world around you.”
‘Murder Me Gently’ not only deals with the current suppression of free speech within Russia and the continued assassination of journalists who try to support their right to report but it’s also about break-ups and incompatibility.
It may not have yellow brick roads or a singing king of the lion world but it’s certainly an intriguing and thought provoking production to make a song and dance about.
Haute Living have an exclusive 2 for 1 ticket offer. Simply mention the code ‘HLL’ at the door.
Murder Me Gently, Tabard Theatre , 2 Bath Road , London, W4 1LW.
0208 995 6035
Showing until March 26.