First Stage Adaptation of Thriller Novelist Peter James Premieres in Canterbury at the Marlowe Theatre

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First Stage Adaptation of Thriller Novelist Peter James Premieres in Canterbury at the Marlowe Theatre

The first stage adaptation of the work of international best-selling crime thriller novelist Peter James comes to Canterbury next month.

With its darkly comic and thrilling storyline, The Perfect Murder was a success on the first leg of its tour earlier this year. Now set for an extended run, which opens at The Marlowe Theatre on Tuesday 2 September, it has been recast and stars Robert Daws and Dawn Steele.

Victor Smiley (Daws) and his wife Joan (Steele) have been married for a long time. But their marriage has reached crisis point and Victor has decided there is only one way to get Joan out of his life forever - but he's about to get a nasty surprise. As a young Detective Roy Grace starts to investigate his very first homicide case, dark forces intervene and Grace begins to fear that nothing is quite as it seems.

James, who has sold more than 15 million books of his Roy Grace series and which has been published in 36 languages, said: "Ever since I was a small boy when my parents first took me to the theatre, I dreamed of one day having something I wrote appear on stage and this wonderful, extremely funny - and in parts very scary - adaptation of The Perfect Murder is a dream come true.

"I am thrilled by the wonderful universal reaction the play has received from both fans of my books but also from those who have not read me before and once again I could not have hoped for a more perfect, murderously good cast, with which to continue this incredible run of The Perfect Murder on stage."

Olivier Award-winner Ian Talbot directs the all-star company in The Perfect Murder, which has been adapted by award-winning writer Shaun McKenna.

Daws is best-known to millions as Dr Gordon Ormerod in the ITV 1960s hospital drama, The Royal, a role he played for eight series. His extensive TV credits have also seen him appear on screen as Sam Mountjoy in Roger Roger, Tuppy Glossop in Jeeves And Wooster, and Roger Dervish in the award-winning Outside Edge. Theatre credits include The Secret Of Sherlock Holmes and Public Property in the West End, and UK tours of Michael Frayn's Alarms And Excursions and David Harrower's Blackbird, the later of which also starred Dawn Steele.

Steele has starred in numerous hit TV series, including the BBC's Monarch Of The Glen, and Sea Of Souls, and she played the popular character of Alice Collins in ITV's Wild At Heart. Theatre credits include the lead role in The Agatha Christie Company's production of Verdict, and she also starred in Noel Coward's previously undiscovered Volcano in both the West End and on tour.

Also in the cast are Gray O'Brien, who continues his highly-acclaimed role as the loveable Don Kirk. O'Brien recently enjoyed an award-winning three years in Coronation Street and has also starred in the TV series Titanic, Peak Practice and Casualty, as well as in the West End in Sleuth; Thomas Howes, who played the much-loved character of William the footman in Downton Abbey (for which he won a Screen Actors' Guild Award) and whose theatre credits include The Winslow Boy and the National Theatre Production of The History Boys; and Romanian-born Simona Armstrong, who the British public took to their hearts when she was discovered in the BBC's How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria and who now continues her run in the role of Kamila.

James has won numerous awards, both in the UK and in the USA. In 2012 he won the coveted US Barry Award for Best British Crime Thriller. The Perfect Murder spent 15 weeks at number one and remained for 50 weeks in the iBooks Top 10.

James has gone straight in at number one in the Sunday Times bestseller charts seven times in the last four years with his Roy Grace series, with his most recent Roy Grace novel, Dead Man's Time, going straight to number one in the autumn of 2013. Want You Dead, his new novel, was released this June.

McKenna's numerous credits include the award-wining Ladies In Lavender and the epic West End stage adaptation of The Lord Of The Rings musical.

The Perfect Murder is at The Marlowe Theatre from Tuesday 2 to Saturday 6 September, with performances at 7.30pm and 2.30pm (Thursday and Saturday). Tickets, priced from £16 to £31.50 (concessions available; booking fee applies), are from the Box Office on 01227 787787 or at marlowetheatre.com.

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