Thomas and Andy Howells visit Cardiff’s New Theatre to review the all-star presentation of Catch Me if You Can featuring Patrick Duffy, Linda Purl and Gray O’Brien.
As the curtain of Catch Me If You Can pulls back to reveal Patrick Duffy working away in a 1960s holiday cabin, ones mind (if your old enough) is certainly taken back to an iconic TV moment in the 1980s. The aforementioned actor’s most famous TV characterisation, Bobby Ewing, returned to Dallas after a season-long hiatus from behind a shower curtain after Pam’s dream pronounced him dead a season before.
All the way from Hollywood, Mr Duffy’s appearance (alongside that of his off-screen partner, Homeland’s Linda Purl) on the stage of Cardiff New Theatre is as magical as his reappearance in Dallas all those years ago and not the only stage appearance to enjoy!
Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert’s ‘Catch Me if You Can’ is based on Robert Thomas French play, Trap For a Lonely Man and in itself is an entertaining thriller. Despite its American setting, it has a style reminiscent of Agatha Christie. There is always something to grab your attention, be it the comedy, the unfolding drama or the characterisations.
For us, the quick-witted and improv-style humour weaved into the script really makes the presentation. The actors delivery is always on point and frequently has the audience laughing.
Ben Nealon’s portrayal of Father Kelleher is consistently acted in a fun and adorable way. His particular character twists and contribution to the story are among the best, often brightening up the stage in the plays darker moments.
Gray O’ Brien brings a fun, fast-paced delivery to Inspector Levine, despite the characters infuriating inability to realise any ‘truth’.
Hugh Futcher has a wonderful series of moments in the first half of the second act as the prime witness, Sidney. His solo moments in conversation with a wall-mounted deer’s head are a delight, as well as his confused exchanges with Patrick Duffy’s Daniel Corban.
Linda Purl could easily have stepped from a 1960s American drama series in her role as the glamorous Elizabeth Corban. A beloved wife, who goes missing , then reappears as someone she appears not to be. Miss Purl’s character certainly raises a lot of questions and is a frequent deceptive game changer in deception along the way. Not only with her husband, but also the audience!
Patrick Duffy is a constant stage presence as Daniel, seemingly calm, but frustrated, as the plot, for all its mad contradictions unfolds. One almost wants him to explode at the madness unfolding around him, but this all works in favour of sympathising with his character more.
The 1960s stylised outfits of Catch Me If You Can are fitting for the characters and clarify their status and personalities (or at least the personality they want to portray). The set’s warm colours create a very homely feeling, built on by the natural cabin look. Chris Davey’s smart lighting contrasts the set perfectly along with the ongoing drama, especially at the plays conclusion.
Catch Me If You Can is a little convoluted with a relatively unsurprising conclusion, even if you don’t see it coming. Regardless, if you have been itching to see a good drama with a twist, this is the scratch and give you several laughs along the way to boot. Certainly not to be missed!
- Catch Me If You Can continues at Cardiff’s New Theatre until Saturday March 5 2022. For booking details visit Cardiff New Theatre’s website
- Interview: Linda Purl Discusses Catch Me If You Can