BWW Review: THE FALCON'S MALTESER, The Vaults
First seen touring in 2014, Anthony Horowitz's comic mystery The Falcon's Maltester was a hit at the 2015 Edinburgh Festival and now comes to London's The Vaults for a run that's ideal entertainment for the kids' summer holidays.
When utterly inept private detective Tim Diamond is delivered a box of Maltesers worth millions by a miniature Mexican, he is thrust into his toughest case yet. Joined by his sharp-witted brother Nick, Tim is thrown into a criminal underworld where a mix of shady characters, including a Russian gangster, an East End villain and a German hit-man all help to find out what is so special about those chocolates.
Adapted for the stage by Feargus Woods Dunlop, this film noir pastiche is full of slapstick and physical comedy, along with a sharp script that entertains throughout. The production is a charming and fun combination of The 39 Steps, a low budget James Bond and The Play That Goes Wrong.
The story features numerous twists and turns with a clever reveal at the end. The one criticism of the production is that the detailed explanation of the mystery itself may be a little complicated for younger audience members to follow.
In a production of numerous characters, the cast is made up of just four actors. Matt Jopling is very convincing as the hapless Tim Diamond. He delivers his lines with natural and credible cluelessness. A lot of his humour is accidental, with statements made with honest and earnest sincerity.
Sian Eleanor Green is stoic and sensible as younger brother Nick Diamond. She is the voice of reason throughout the show, steering Tim around and away from disaster. She is more convincing as a helpful side-kick rather than a natural fit as a younger brother, mainly because she is so tolerant of his constant stupidity.
Fergus Leathem and Samatha Sutherland gallantly tackle all the other roles with aplomb. Leathem is especially good as irritated Inspector Snape and Sutherland manages a wide variety of tones and accents as gangster The Fat Man and mysterious Lauren Bacardi.
Director Lee Lyford has created a very physical production, with clever use of limited space. His staging of a car chase, hotel reception and graveyard are quirky and funny.
The Vaults is a great venue for this production; dark and interesting, with enough atmospheric corners to add intrigue to the show.
This is a wonderfully silly theatrical experience for the whole family, perfect for the summer holidays.
Photo Credit: Geraint Lewis