Dead Simple

Peter James' Dead Simple - Belgrade
Dead Simple is a play based on the book by Peter James. It stars Jamie Lomas (Hollyoaks), Tina Hobley (Holby City) & Gray O’Brien (Coronation St).

It’s a very creepy tale indeed. A stag night prank goes horribly wrong for Michael Harrison (Lomas), his mates decide to pay him back for all the dreadful pranks he’s played on them, by locking him in a coffin overnight. The lid will be nailed on and he’ll be lowered into a plot, covered with a loose material. He will have a breathing tube of some sort through the lid. He’ll also have a walkie-talkie so he can only talk to them. (And they can taunt/tease him as well.)

However after they carry out the deed, his mates are involved in a car accident and no one else knows he’s in the coffin. His girlfriend Ashley (Hobley) is very worried and his best friend Mark (Rik Makarem) is out of town on a business meeting.

A young chap Davey Wheeler (Josh brown) finds the friends’ walkie talkie near the crash site but he has learning disabilities so when Michael begins speaking to him, Davey doesn’t fully understand the situation and thinks Michael is playing a game.

The police are called as a missing person’s report is filed. And the police chief (Gray O’Brien) uses a psychic on the quiet to help him. Trying to keep her secret from his partner DS Branson (Marc Small).

Davey is Michael’s only hope of reaching someone from the outside and getting him out of the coffin before he starves to death!

This play was outstanding, the stunts were well designed for a theatre floor. I loved the way they did the coffin and there was glass panel, which only showed when the stage was darkened a light was lit inside.
The sets were simple but easy to move around as needed, so you weren’t distracted by lengthy furniture shifting.

Jamie Lomas played the part of Michael so well, a desperate man caught in an impossible situation. I felt his distress at being alone and then finding someone to talk but with time ticking away!

Tina Hobley was the prefect choice for the girlfriend, she can be nice or horrible at the flick of a switch. Now that’s scary! One minute you would think, ‘she’s lovely.’ and the next ‘Run!’

There were plenty of twists and turns in the plot and you find it’s not just a stag night prank gone wrong, someone in the shadows is manipulating events for a very dastardly deed.

The only thing I wanted was more interaction from the psychic that the police chief was using. I felt she didn’t get enough stage time to convey her talent. It felt rushed and in the end she didn’t do a great deal. More than once I felt like someone could’ve shouted, ‘I could’ve told you that mate!’

The officers were a bit like Keystone cops and were very slow. But I think a better relationship/chemistry might’ve made the slowness better. Sadly you can’t fast forward the slow bits.

Despite the gripes, this has to be a 10/10 from me. A wonderful cast and some powerful emotions displayed in the telling of this story.

Image reproduced from Belgrade.