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Not Dead Enough Review – Bristol Hippodrome

Not Dead Enough Review. Bristol Hippodrome

Not Dead Enough

The Bristol Hippodrome

Monday 27th February – Saturday 4th March 2017

Award-winning EastEnders’ actor Shane Richie, MTV presenter Laura Whitmore and Coronation Street’s Stephen Billington star in this world premiere murder mystery production. Not Dead Enough is the third of Peter James’ international bestselling Roy Grace novels which have been published in 36 languages and sold over 18 million copies worldwide.


The night Brian Bishop is accused of murdering his wife, he was sixty miles away, asleep in bed – or at least that’s what he claims. But as Detective Superintendent Roy Grace starts to dig a little deeper into the chilling murder case, it soon becomes clear that love can be a dangerous thing.


Shane Richie has played numerous roles on stage and screen but as an EastEnders’ fan it’s hard for me to completely detach him from his role as cheeky chappy EastEnders’ character, Alfie Moon! I haven’t seen him on stage before and I quickly warm to him as Detective Superintendent Roy Grace.
Laura Whitmore is well known for her work as a presenter for MTV and most recently for gracing our screens as one of the stars in 2016’s Strictly Come Dancing. She’s convincing in her role as mortician, Cleo, which is particularly to her credit as this is her professional theatrical debut.
Shane and Laura are joined on stage by award winning actor Stephen Billington, best known for television roles in Coronation Street and Hollyoaks as well as film roles including the Academy Award winning Braveheart. Stephen plays bereaved husband Brian Bishop and embraces the different personalities which his role demands – and it does demand quite a lot!
I also enjoy Gemma Stroyan’s performance as Grace’s colleague, Bella Moy.

The stage is mostly divided into three simple sets: a mortuary; an interview room and a police office. This layout is effective as the areas can either be used simultaneously or in series so there’s very little need for set changes, therefore only the slightest interruption to the story’s flow between scenes. At one point the bereaved suspect is waiting in the interview room while work continues in both the police office next door and the mortuary behind, emphasising the waiting game he’s playing. There’s barely any scenery change throughout and the basic props and flimsy door in a freestanding frame give the set an am-dram feel.

From our seats near the back of the stalls in row S, I find the sound levels low, particularly at the start. A combination of this and muted stage lighting might explain why I find it hard to engage with the action to start with but as the play progresses, particularly in act two, the plot begins to draw me in.

Even though I’m one of those annoying people who often guesses the ending of stories too soon, the story takes an interesting turn and I don’t ‘solve’ this case until well into the second act.

Not Dead Enough Review. Bristol Hippodrome

The subtle, eerie use of stringed instruments, creating tension at all the right moments, is balanced by moments of humour, such as when a corpse unexpectedly returns from the dead ….


The show opens with what resembles a twisted sex game and the ongoing theme of violent murder and rape are enough to convince me not to bring the children to see Not Dead Enough any time soon!


We don’t see many plays at The Hippodrome and I’m not expecting the feel good factor which follows a good musical, but I’m not wowed by this production in this setting. Perhaps if we were sitting closer to the front, if the volume was a little louder or if the theatre was smaller I could have soaked up the atmosphere and enjoyed it more. That said, it does warm up in second half, the story is clever enough to make the outcome hard to predict and perhaps most importantly, the husband enjoys watching something completely different!

I’ve just checked and ticket sales seem to be going very well so it looks like a lot of theatre goers fancy a spot of murder mystery. Click here for more information or to book tickets to Not Dead Enough or other shows at The Bristol Hippodrome. (affiliate link)


NOT DEAD ENOUGH – Bristol Hippodrome

Monday 27th February – Saturday 4th March
Evenings at 7.30pm
Matinees on Wed & Sat at 2.30pm
Tickets from £17.50
Concessions available at certain performances

Click here for a complete diary listing of shows at the Bristol Hippodrome

Enjoyed our NOT DEAD ENOUGH REVIEW? Then why not check out other show reviews on Practically Perfect Mums?

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang


Million Dollar Quartet

Billy Elliot


Kiss Me Kate

Fiddler on the Roof

Breakfast at Tiffany’s



Guys and Dolls

Chicago The Musical

Taming of the Shrew Ballet

Let It Be

Mamma Mia!


Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty


Avenue Q

The Last Tango

The Bodyguard

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 

Mary Poppins

Little Table of Delights

I Puritani

Romeo and Juliet


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