Three isn’t a Grand charm

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Death By Fatal Murder - Grand Theatre, Blackpool

With the likes of something created by Alan Ayckbourn or Alan Bennett there would be a certain sense of excitement and anticipation about having sat through the second part of a trilogy.

The same cannot really be said about the latest part of Peter Gordon’s “Inspector Pratt trilogy.”

That could be because surely there’s little left to be said after two parts of this spoof on the murder mystery and thriller genre – every double entendre has been delivered, every dramatic cliché has been performed and every malapropism has been milked.

Rather like the law of diminishing returns seen in movie spoofs, there’s only so far you can go when taking the fun out of Agatha Christie and her ilk.

Yes, there’s fun to be had in plots full of red herrings and bumbling detectives – as the likes of Sleuth and The Real Inspector Hound have revealed – but this two act play set in 1940 is more ‘Allo ‘Allo in its delivery.

The biggest mystery is why the soundtrack is 1920s music rather than who has done what to who and why – so don’t even try and follow the plot because (a) it is after all a spoof so doesn’t need to make sense and (b) the denouement is almost as long as the rest of the play put together – itself presumably a pastiche of more serious offerings.

Full marks then to the cast for hitting the right note with characters saddled with surnames such as Pratt, Farquar, Miss Joan Marple and Stiffy Allwright. Familiar names Michelle Hardwick, David Callister, Katy Manning and Leslie Grantham are among those grinning and bearing it at the Grand until Saturday.