By Eric Chappell
18 - 23 September, 2017
A fast-paced comedy thriller in which five very different people play an escalating and hilarious game of cat and mouse.
John and Barbara Miles return from a celebratory dinner with their friends Jenny and Trevor Farrington to discover that their country house has been burgled. The burglar is Spriggs, a career criminal, who initially convinces everyone that he is the local policeman sent to investigate the crime. Once unmasked as the thief, Spriggs skillfully manipulates and corrupts each character; exposing guilty secrets, childhood rivalries and character flaws, all of which threaten to disrupt seemingly happy marriages and lifelong friendships. Through shrewd observations and stinging one liners Spriggs provides the audience with an entertaining, thought provoking and witty social commentary on key issues such as marriage, money, morality and crime.
With Eric Chappellís comedy writing pedigree (Rising Damp and Duty Free on TV some years back), youíd expect his stage play to have sharp and funny dialogue and I donít think youíd be disappointed. Perhaps surprisingly though, some commentators have compared Theft to An Inspector Calls: but what, you may ask, links a light comedy to one of the towering dramas of the twentieth century? Well, both plays use the device of the outsider disturbing the comfortable status quo and revealing hidden truths- though unlike the enigmatic Inspector Goole, Spriggs the burglar is very much a man of the real world- and has funnier lines.
In a small cast, everyone has to work to support the others, and this cast has done that well. We have a nice blend of familiar and new faces on stage and there has been throughout rehearsals a sense of collaboration, with actors throwing in suggestions and a refreshing absence of ego. Backstage, of course, the unseen magic which has sustained the quality of BLT productions for so long is at work again and I canít praise everyone involved highly enough.
A few years ago, I directed what turned out to be BLTís five hundredth play and now here I am leading off the seventieth season. What an honour to be the Anniversary Man again!
I sincerely hope you enjoy your evening.