Review: The Chesterfield Theatre Company are dressed for success

Death by Design presented by Chesterfield Theatre Company.
Death by Design presented by Chesterfield Theatre Company.

Life without theatre is a life not worth living says the male principal in Death by Design.

It’s obvious how much pleasure that members of The Chesterfield Theatre Company derive from their hobby.

The passion not only shows in the performers but also in the set designers who have created a true work of art at the Rose Theatre, Chesterfield, this week.

Set in the roaring Twenties, the cast depict dances of the era against a backdrop of chaise longue, vintage gramophone and martini glasses.

The leading lady oozes sophisticated glamour in a drop-waisted dress and fabulous hat festooned with feathers while her opposite number cuts a dash in striped blazer.

Simon Gordon and Sue Turner take centre stage as the warring husband and wife whose private life mirrors the drama of their professions. He plays an arrogant, opinionated playwright whose career is in the ascendancy, she is cast as a vain, self-centred actress whose performance has gained harsh reviews from critics.

While the characters’ marriage looks doomed as she hooks suitor after suitor, the interplay between Simon and Sue is a match made in heaven with lovely performances from both.

Zany figures such as a red-haired, nutty socialist, an arty bohemian and a guffawing Conservative MP ramp up the comedy factor and are well played by Harry Goring, Ruth Higginbottom and Nigel Timperley.

The arrival of a visually challenged stranger (played by Jemma Monkhouse) and a supected murder brings an Agatha Christie element. Heather Beresford, cast as a no-nonsense maid, does her best Miss Marple impression to suss out culprit and motive.

Gossipy servants add to the Downton Abbey-esque feel of the piece with lovely performances from Rob Wallace as the chauffeur and Joanne Gordon as the kooky maid.

Death By Design is directed by David Holmes and continues its run at the Rose Theatre tonight (Saturday, April 16) at 7.30pm.