Beyond Reasonable Doubt – St Jude’s Players

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Beyond Reasonable Doubt, is Jeffrey Archer’s first play, written in 1987. It was a huge success with an initial run of 600 performances on London’s West End and is still performed professionally and in amateur theatre.

Did he do it? What if you had to decide? Beyond Reasonable Doubt allows you to be the jury in a murder trial, and find out whether your verdict was the correct one!

Sir David Metcalf finds himself accused of the murder of his wife and defending himself in a courtroom scene, where we see him locked in an extensive legal
struggle with his adversary, Anthony Blair-Booth QC. Act I finishes with verdict
about to be announced, and the audience foreseeing the demise of the defendant given his former housekeeper claims to have witnessed the fatal act, and has testified
against him.

Act II sees us transported to a week preceding and then the evening of the death of
Mrs Metcalf, allowing us to see how the events unfolded. 

Seasoned director Vicky Horwood has assembled a fine cast, which includes her husband Andrew as the protagonist Sir David Metcalf. Horwood was believable, balancing an assured courtroom persona with the vulnerability of a defendant in a fight for his life.  Brian Knott is outstanding as prosecutor Anthony Blair-Booth QC, totally convincing in a first class performance. I would not have been surprised to find this was indeed his day job. Julie Quick as Mrs Rogers oozes disdain when testifying against her former boss Sir David and Joanne St Clair encapsulates the strength of terminally ill Lady Millicent Metcalf,
oscillating between the pain and anguish of her advancing illness and the playful and loving wife and hostess. The remaining cast put in fine performances.

The play focuses as much on the relationship between the Metcalfs and how it is perceived by those closest to them as on the legal aspects of the action. The conclusion delivered the promised unexpected twist, although, perhaps because I am an avid crime reader, I found it a little predictable and unnecessarily sentimental, a
fault with the script not the performers.

The set by Don Oakley is suitably imposing without being overly ornate, leaving our focus firmly on the action. Mention must also be made of Leigh Wheatley’s lighting design, judicious and effective.

St Jude’s seldom disappoint and they can certainly list this production with their numerous successes.

Beyond Reasonable Doubt
St. Jude’s Players
St. Jude’s Players