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Thriller by Anthony Horowitz. Directed by Richard Baron.
Starring Simon Ward, Christopher Blake and Helen Hobson.
When a well known author arrives at Fairfields, an experimental hospital for the criminally insane hoping to interview a notorious serial killer, he stumbles into a nightmare world of murder and deception. What secret is the hospital's director hiding, and why is the chief nurse afraid of him? Why are liver sandwiches so popular? And why isn't the skeleton in its proper place - the closet?
The question remains... Dare you play?
Anthony Horowitz is perhaps best known for creating the popular television series The Midsomer Murders.
Mindgame comes into the West End following a regional tour.
On 26 June 2000: Early closing notices where posted for 8 July 2000 - after a run of just five weeks.
VAUDEVILLE Theatre Previewed 24 May, Opened 5 June 2000, Closed 8 July 2000
Extracts from the reviews:
"Scapel, aaaaargh, thud! The West End needs a new whodunit - even a sick one like Mindgame, so let's give a qualified welcome to Antony Horowitz's ingeniously twisted schlocker with its tongue firmly in - almost hanging out of - its cheek... Fun it is; but for me fatally robbed of its bloom by the lubricous threat of savage torture involving a semi-naked female victim. Nasty and far too close to the bone, that, in an evening that by the end forfeits the joke. Probably best taken with a large dose of salt and a box of Maltesers at a wet Saturday matinee." The Express
"...For years, thrillers were one of the mainstays of the West End, but apart from the baffling longevity of The Mousetrap, there hasn't been a whodunit hit for years... My own theory is that Anthony Shaffer sent up the whole genre so wittily and ingeniously in Sleuth that there has been nowhere for the traditional whodunit to go. It has become impossible to go through the creaky conventions while keeping a straight face. Anthony Horowitz has clearly realised this, and the result is his highly entertaining schlock-horror show Mindgame. Horowitz has been responsible for TV successes such as the Midsomer Murders series and Murder Most Horrid and has a great knack for combining cheap thrills with knowing laughter... My main reservation about the play is that some of the details of the serial killer's career put one in mind of Fred West, and there's an uncomfortable feeling that real-life wickedness is being hijacked, and trivialised, in the name of dubious entertainment. But perhaps nervy laughter is a healthy response to such horrors... Richard Baron's production, wittily designed by Ken Harrison, combines efficient slasher thrills 'n' chills with outbreaks of pitch-black humour..." The Daily Telegraph
"...It may be the human skeleton that almost gives the game, or rather the Mindgame away. There the thing droops, in the corner of Ken Harrison's medical-office set for Anthony Horowitz's spectacularly ridiculous new thriller - a play which raises more derisive laughter than shudders or goose-pimples... There's something synthetic and hollow about Horowitz's resort to cruelty. His attempts to revolt and chill the blood are luridly excessive. He makes psychopathic behaviour laughable and silly, rather than shocking. And the play's cliched contention - that those who write about mass-murder are themselves excited by it - musters little conviction. The thriller's last twist, in an evening of more twists and turns and lame manipulations than an old-fashioned jiving contest, positively begs for disbelief..." The London Evening Standard
"Some plays are merely absurd and the quicker they limp to the final curtain the better. But some are enjoyably absurd and such a one is Anthony Horowitz's Mindgame at the Vaudeville. I suppose its genre is that of the psychological thriller, and echoes of Sleuth can be heard, but the plot tumbles into other genres too: black comedy, heartless farce, a would-be serious study of madness - the echoes here come from Ayckbourn's Woman in Mind - and when two silhouettes struggle behind a translucent screen, one of them armed with a knife (Hitchcock, anyone?), the smears and splatters of blood take us into the nastier world of Grand Guignol... The jokes, thrills and deliberate bathos in Richard Baron's artful production, even the blood, are only here to entertain us, which they do, often in the worst possible taste, so this is not a show for anyone who has recently been eaten." The Times