Review: House of Ghosts, at Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
The cumbersome full title of this show is Colin Dexter’s Morse in House of Ghosts, which makes it clear that this is a theatrical repackaging of the TV detective.
But what you don’t get, of course, is the Oxford locations. That might not have proved such a disadvantage if the material had been treated instead to some kind of imaginative theatrical makeover, but sadly Robin Herford’s production is static and pedestrian.
And, of course, you don’t get John Thaw. Colin Baker’s Morse is a woollier, more portly version, resembling an occasionally petulant Digby Jones.
When TV shows like Morse deal with a theatrical setting they always have a feeling of caricature, and ironically it is no more authentic here for actually being staged in a theatre. The play within-a-play is a production of Hamlet in which Ophelia dies all too literally on stage in front of an audience including Morse.
It’s the kind of hokum that would pass an undemanding evening pleasantly and pointlessly enough in the comfort of your own home. But whatever you thought of Morse on television, it never looked this cheap.
Until Saturday (also at the Malvern Festival Theatre Mon-Sat next week, and the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, November 1-6).