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The Perfect Murder - Les Dennis stars

Peter James

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

INTERNATIONAL best-selling crime thriller novelist Peter James – who has sold over 15 million books of his Roy Grace series and been published in 36 languages – is to have his work adapted for the stage for the first time.

The Perfect Murder, which spent 15 weeks at No.1 in the book charts, has been adapted by award-winning writer Shaun McKenna and will open at the Orchard Theatre, Dartford on January 8, 2014, before embarking on a UK tour that will visit Richmond Theatre from April 22 to April 26.

Victor Smiley and his wife Joan have been married for a long time. But Victor secretly loathes Joan and is getting attention elsewhere. And Joan is bored stiff by Victor, whose irritating ways are driving her mad. The marriage has reached a crisispoint and Victor decides there is only one way to get Joan out of his life forever………but he’s about to get a nasty surprise.

The Perfect Murder will star Les Dennis, one of Britain’s most popular actors and entertainers who is currently starring as King Arthur in the West End production of Spamalot. And just last week, he finished joint runner-up in the Grand Final on BBC 1’s Celebrity Masterchef.

Dennis has also appeared on stage in Chicago, Legally Blonde The Musical, Hairspray, Art, Skylight and his award-winning role in Jigsy.

Olivier Award winner Ian Talbot directs an all-star cast that also includes Claire Goose, who starred in the BBC hit series Waking the Dead and Casualty as well as ITV’s The Bill and most recently SKY TV’s comedy-drama Mount Pleasant.

Dennis and Goose are joined by Gray O’Brien, who recently enjoyed an award-winning three years as Tony Gordon in Coronation Street and also appeared in the TV series Titanic, Peak Practice and Casualty as well as on the West End stage in Sleuth; Steven Miller who played Lenny Lyons for three years in Casualty and whose theatre credits include The Lord of The Rings (Theatre Royal Drury Lane) and Blackwatch; and Simona Armstrong from BBC’s How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

Peter James has won numerous awards both in the UK and in the USA, including the coveted US Barry Award for Best British Crime Thriller (2012). The Perfect Murder spent 15 weeks at No 1 and remained for 50 weeks in the iBooks Top 10. Recently, James has enjoyed great success with the latest release in the Roy Grace Series, Dead Man’s Time.

Commenting on the first stage adaptation of his work, James said:

“My parents took me to the Theatre Royal in Brighton almost every week of my childhood, and I dreamed of one day having a play of my own work produced. This is now truly a dream come true, and I could not wish to be with a more stellar group of people, including my wonderful co-producer Josh Andrews, writer Shaun McKenna, who has done such a terrific adaptation and Ian Talbot, who is a fantastic director. And I do not think we could have a more perfect, murderously wonderful cast!”

Shaun McKenna is an award-winning writer whose numerous credits include the award-wining Ladies In Lavender and the epic West End stage adaptation of The Lord of The Rings.

The Perfect Murder is produced by Joshua Andrews and Peter James, in association with Paul Tyrer and Jamie Clark at the Booking Office.

Following Dartford, the tour will also visit Bath, Norwich, Brighton, Southampton, Truro, Coventry, Derby, Glasgow, Woking, Manchester and Richmond, with further dates to be announced.