Review: Peculiar Productions’ A Tomb With A View, Llanover Hall, Cardiff

A collection of eccentrics are gathered in a remote country house for a will reading. Heavy fog descends outside, but it’s the inside of Monument House that’s dangerous. Will the squabbling over money turn into a more deadly game? Where are the hidden millions? And what is that noise coming from the cellar?

A Tomb With a View sends up the well-loved murder mystery format while still being a brilliant example of the genre. As you’d expect, there’s a growing sense that nobody is safe and anybody could be the killer. But it’s also packed with jokes, and the plot has more twists than a corkscrew. This staging from Peculiar Productions brings out the playfulness of the script while still making the audience gasp.

The standard of acting makes it hard to believe that this is an amateur production. The actors playing the Tomb siblings spark off each other, exchanging witty barbs even as the body count rises. Alice Boswell and Lucy Howlett are particularly good as Emily and Monica Tomb, the tomboy and vamp with no sisterly love between them. The star of the show has to be James Paine as Peregrine Potter, the hapless outsider dragged into this peculiar and dangerous world. His very English approach to every situation, no matter how bizarre or terrifying, is reminiscent of a young Hugh Laurie. But this is an ensemble piece, with every actor bringing something unmissable to the production.

I won’t reveal the outcome of the power struggles, but I will end with something that Marcus Tomb might say: “No one is so brave that he is not disturbed by something unexpected.”

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