Review: Peter James’ Looking Good Dead, New Theatre, Cardiff

Andy Howells visits Cardiff’s New Theatre to check out the new Peter James’ stage thriller Looking Good Dead.

The unique excitement of watching a thriller unfold live on stage, is something I’ve been fortunate to experience over the years and missed greatly during lockdown. Its therefore a special treat that Cardiff’s New Theatre have opened the second week of their autumn season with the stage production of Peter James’ thriller, Looking Good Dead.

Adapted for stage by Shaun McKenna, Looking Good Dead follows the story of Tom Bryce who, hours after picking up a USB memory stick that was left behind on the seat of a train, tries to return it to its owner and witnesses a vicious murder online along with his son, Max.

When the murder is reported to the police, the Bryce family are put in danger. Detective Superintendent Roy Grace and his team need all their resources to track down the killer before any further deaths occur.

Adam Woodyatt and Luke Ward-Wilkinson (as Tom and Max Bryce) witness a murder online in Peter James’ Looking Good Dead which continues at Cardiff’s New Theatre until Saturday October 2, 2021.

Adam Woodyatt and Gaynor Faye star in Looking Good Dead

Caught in the centre of the intrigue are the Bryce family, Tom, (Adam Woodyatt), Kellie (Gaynor Faye) and their teenage son, Max (Luke Ward-Wilkinson). While Tom and Kellie are approaching mid-life meltdowns with financial worries, their tech-savvy son seems to be blissfully planning his escape from home.

The unfolding story of how the family become terrorised by the extreme dangers of modern technology give plenty of food for thought. Such subjects as live video feeds, computer hacking, the dark web and phone scamming are all vividly illustrated.

Adam Woodyatt and Gaynor Faye (as Tom and Kellie Bryce in Peter James’ Looking Good Dead which continues at Cardiff’s New Theatre until Saturday October 2, 2021.

“An Edge of Your Seat Treat, From Start To Finish!”

The two-level set design allows the audience to witness some very dramatic (and sometimes disturbing) scenes, both in the criminal’s recording studio or in the Bryce family home, as well as the occasional roll-in addition of the Police headquarters.

Part way into the proceedings, I was looking for some reassurance that the Police, led by Detective Superintendent Roy Grace (Harry Long) may start finding some answers. It seemed; however, they could easily have stepped out of an 80s episode of The Bill (along with the incidental music that introduced them) as they were several steps behind the technical minded criminals.

Thankfully, Looking Good Dead does wrap up with some resolve. It’s outcome been an edge of your seat treat, from start to finish!

  • Looking Good Dead continues at Cardiff’s New Theatre until Saturday October 2, 2021.
  • Full performance details and ticket availability can be found online at www.newtheatrecardiff.co.uk or by contacting box office on 0343 310 0041

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