Guilty or not guilty? That is the question

PUBLISHED: 14:28 01 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:14 06 May 2010

IT WAS an unusual start. Houselights were up at the Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage, as the cast wandered on doing their business at the Old Bailey. The judge (Graham Ashe) entered and informed us that we, the audience of Beyond Reasonable Doubt, by Jeff

IT WAS an unusual start. Houselights were up at the Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage, as the cast wandered on doing their business at the Old Bailey.

The judge (Graham Ashe) entered and informed us that we, the audience of Beyond Reasonable Doubt, by Jeffrey Archer, were the jury in the trial of Sir David Metcalfe QC (Leslie Grantham), accused of murdering his terminally ill wife.

DCI Travers (Andrew Ramsey) stated that natural causes had been given on the death certificate but a witness had come forward claiming murder. The body had been exhumed and poison found.

Mrs Rogers, (lovely performance by Maggie Stables) the housekeeper, was that witness. Under cross-examination by Sir David, conducting his own defence, she told of overhearing an argument that night when he returned home late, drunk as usual, and that she had given Lady Metcalf her pills at 9.45pm. There were seven left. Later that night she had seen Sir David administer another, frightened she kept quiet.

Anthony Blair Booth QC (familiar name) played by the gorgeous Simon Ward, was prosecuting counsel. He bombarded the accused, his old arch enemy, with questions inferring his guilt, why had he given his wife another pill?

Money was owed by Sir David and he would inherit over £4m on his wife's death. Could this be a reason for murder?

When the judge requested us to consider our verdict I couldn't decide beyond reasonable doubt.

The events of the previous few months leading up to the fatal evening were re-traced in their London home, with the lovely Alexandra Bastedo as Lady Metcalf. True to say never believe all that you hear, or what you think you see, culminating in a terrific after-trial finale.

A great play by Jeffrey Archer, good acting from all, lovely scenery and lighting. My only criticism, the sound was too low out of court!

Maureen Millard

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