Review: A Judgement In Stone

The Classic Thriller Theatre Company
Theatre Royal, Glasgow, 19-24 June 2017

2 Stars (2 / 5)

Suspense is Ruth Rendell’s thing. Of A Judgement In Stone, she once said her success was in “making my readers feel pity for my psychopaths, because I do”. This adaptation of the novel, directed by Roy Marsdene, evokes feelings of impatience towards murderer Eunice Parchman (Sophie Ward) rather than intrigue. The performers are capable in their own right, and all the characters portrayed are believable and for the most part consistent; yet when put together, none of them seem to suit the needs of the story, and the whole narrative falls flat. This issue is exacerbated by the empty transitions and occasionally questionable staging choices. No sympathy is developed for any of the characters, therefore making the moments of death and subsequent guilt more awkward than shocking. Somehow, somewhere during the course of the play, something has gone wrong, if a minor character getting slapped in the face gets a stronger reaction from the audience than the actual murder and discovery.

Designer Julie Godfrey and lighting designer Malcolm Rippeth deliver a pleasant visual experience and realistic set. Deborah Grant gives the lively, energetic portrayal of Joan Smith that this lacklustre performance so desperately needs.