Great timing and top acting make comedy even funnier

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Shady Business, 
Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne

The second in Talking Scarlet’s three-week mystery season is a contrast to last week’s tense psychological chiller.

This week: a new cast, a different genre but equally good, which is what we have come to expect from this very talented company.

Shady Business by Robin Hawdon is a very funny play made even funnier by the well-cast characters and first-class acting.

Zoe Lister, best known for playing Zoe Carpenter in Hollyoaks, is perfect as the Essex girl who has got herself a job as a dancer in a dodgy club run by Big Mack.

Not only does he own the club he owns Mandy (Lister) as he pays for the flat where she lives and when she meets a nice young man from the city, well played by Simon Willmont and brings him home for the night it leads to a series of mistaken identities as she tries to hide him when Big Mack arrives.

David Callister is the definitive dodgy club owner. The actor has got the part down to a tee.

Katy Dean is her friend from the club Tanya and the two make perfect foils for each other.

Scott Wright is very well cast as Terry who works for one of Big Mac’s contacts and arrives to deliver the protection money Big Mack charges.

He comes over as very naive and stupid but nothing is what it seems.

Graham Martin is Mig Mack’s bodyguard who hears nothing of what is going on around him and Harry the Spanner, who is supposed to be the hardman is also well played by Michael Kirk.

Timing is crucial in this play and director Patric Kearns has got this so right.

This fast-moving play has a twist in the end that takes everyone by surprise.

By Amanda Wilkins