Rebus: Long Shadows

Adding to the drama, Ian Rankin and Rona Munro’s stage adaptation of a new story for Rankin’s famous detective hit a first night problem when lead actor Charles Lawson took ill onstage.

As luck would have it, I went on night two, so witnessed the understudy Neil McKilven play a magnificent Rebus – slightly shambolic, screwed up and fraught, a retired loner sidelined from his life. McKilven fitted the part perfectly, and even while clutching a script in Act 2 he managed to make it look like a police procedural case file.

This is a good story, well crafted, well written and satisfying in its twist in the tale conclusion which leaves our hero and his greatest adversary Big Ger Cafferty united in their eternal and impossible stand-off.

John Stahl made an impressive Big Ger – imposing, menacing, charming and psychopathic. The stage setting, austere and minimal served well as an unobtrusive background to the changing action, and the other worldly presence of past murder victims, come to haunt the conscience of eternal cop Rebus, added a Greek chorus note to our hero’s psyche.

The story is a logical unfolding of events and memory, ending in the hint that life’s tight arc will go round to repeat itself in the future.

This production from Birmingham Repertory Theatre was much enjoyed by a very enthusiastic audience.

(Note the picture shows Charles Lawson in the role of Rebus)


King’s Theatre until October 13th