Francis Durbridge’s wonderful play Suddenly At Home is running for this week (Thursday-Tuesday August 16-21) at this beautifully atmospheric old Shelley theatre.

Durbridge won international acclaim as the creator of Paul Temple, one of the most famous of all BBC radio detectives. Durbridge also wrote nine stage plays, this one Suddenly At Home first performed in 1971.

Set in a London flat in the 1970s, accomplished and creative director Vernon Thompson ensures that the audience is hooked, intrigued, and completely entertained by this realistic drama.

The stage set is utterly convincing, not in a clichéd 70s way, but with some hugely appropriate furniture – the CD tower (with the sound of Madonna’s Material Girl,) the semi-circular table, and the wall paintings (which can be purchased).

Costumes, wigs and make-up are spot-on, yet it’s the superb acting quality which drives the drama. Mark Spalding is utterly brilliant as the chillingly realistic suffocating murderer Glen Howard, Kirsty Cox is wonderfully accomplished as the mesmeric Helen Tenby, and Hepzibah Roe is astonishingly effective as the unlikely “au pair” girl.

Surprises, shocks, and twists abound in this clever drama, particularly with the two detectives, beautifully conveyed by Neil James and Musa Trevathan.

The talented London Repertory Players conclude their exciting summer season here at the Shelley Theatre next week ( Thursday –Tuesday August 23-28) with Richard Harris’s tense psychological thriller of guilt and obsession ... Dead Guilty... don’t miss it!

Brendan McCusker