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Death Takes A Lover - The Red Hedgehog (Review)

Death Takes A Lover

Review by Shanna Schreuder

AS THE poster accurately states, Death Takes A Lover is a “chilling and claustrophobic slice of Victoriana”.

Written by Olivier Bosman, this Gothic play is not so much a story about death, but more a tale about obsession and sexual desire during an era of restraint.

John Billings, a police inspector from London, has been sent to a house in Yorkshire to investigate the strange death of Roger Thornton. Receiving a cold reception from the lady of the manor and mother of the deceased, Mrs Thornton, Billings, aided by the spirit of his dead mother, sets out to uncover the truth.

As each member of the household reveals more details about their relationship with Roger, it becomes clear to the inspector that the young master remained an object of desire long after his death.

Steve Hubbard’s direction effectively makes the flashbacks and relationships between the characters as clear as possible. Liam Redican as John Billings and Jane Riley as Mrs Billings have a strong connection throughout.

Matt Martin’s Roger Thornton delivers the charm, while Jill Stanford as Gracie oozes disturbed madness.

Performed in The Red Hedgehog, Death Takes A Lover is a bit of a mixed bag. It starts out to be a murder mystery but quickly shifts its focus onto the mother-son relationship and people’s dark inner desires.

Although there are some funny bits and the potential for a gripping story, this production crosses the line at times, even for modern times, leaving you with a bad taste in your mouth.

Showing at The Red Hedgehog from November 22 – 26 Nov and November 29 – December 5. Tickets £12/10.

The Red Hedgehog is situated 100 yards from Highgate Tube Station
between The Indian Chef and Tao Dao, opposite The Boogaloo Pub. Tel: 0208 348 5050.