Another act of faith by the Sutton Coldfield group.
Their last show was a static, word-filled courtroom thriller. This one is a similarly static sermon for atheists disguised as a potboiler thriller.
Hugh Whitemore, the writer, is best known for plays like Stevie and Breaking the Code, and he wrote this after researching an abortive script about a Pope.
Rather than waste the effort, he incorporated it here as a vehicle for Derek Jacobi (premiered at Malvern) as a stranger stumbling in on four English tourists as they play Monopoly (?the Italian version?) at their lonely Tuscan villa where the phone, would you credit it, isn?t working.
He says he possesses knowledge for which would-be assassins are chasing him. Or is here just an escaped lunatic? Well I?m not about to spoil any fun by divulging any more.
A few interesting ideas which, in a shallow after-dinner wine-fuelled chat might be entertaining enough struggle to hold the interest. There just isn?t enough happening on stage and Patrick Raymond-Ward, as the intrusive fugitive, simply doesn?t project the manic power needed to fuel this whole enterprise, which, rather unfairly, he?s expected to do.
There are a few laughs along the way (another fine grumpy joke from Barry Holmes) but the tourists are really only there to acts as prompts to the stranger?s narrative.
Davina Barnes, David Bligh and Anne Deakin do what is asked of them efficiently, although with rather too many prompts for comfort. Actors of this calibre are capable of so much more. Blame Mr Whitemore.
If, like most people in the English-speaking world, you?ve read The Da Vinci Code and the stream of books started by The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail, you?ll be familiar with the territory - is Christianity a giant con trick?
A century ago it might have been shocking. But now? More importantly, is it entertaining? God only knows.