Razor Sharp Productions promise “original plays designed to keep an audience gripped to the end”. She Wears Scented Rose, a new thriller written and directed by Yasir Senna, delivers on this promise up to a point, but could use a little tightening up in places to make the most of a strong and intriguing plot.
Businessman Mark (Craig Karpel) is on his way home late one night when he’s attacked and stabbed several times, the victim of a suspected carjacking. But when he wakes up in hospital, police officer DI Kane (Rosalie Carn) is waiting with questions, and it turns out all may not be quite as it seems… Twists and turns take us on an emotional rollercoaster ride, culminating in a truly shocking – and very effectively staged – conclusion.
Like any crime drama, the key is in the detail, and She Wears Scented Rose is packed with these; looking back afterwards you realise the intricacy of the plot, and that all the clues were there all along to piece together the truth. Senna has obviously done his research, and has in particular created a complex and well-drawn central figure in the silver-tongued Mark, played brilliantly by Craig Karpel. He has strong support from Niki Mylonas as his loving wife Verity, who has a secret of her own, and Rosalie Carn as an attractive French police officer with some unorthodox investigation methods. Simon Ryerson, meanwhile, is a sympathetic figure as Mark’s nice but dim best mate Dave, who in contrast to his friend is driven by his heart rather than his head. The acting on the whole is solid, although there are a couple of scenes that start to edge towards the melodramatic and could perhaps be reined in a little.
While the story is certainly gripping and holds our interest throughout, the script in places needs a bit of a trim to make more of an impact. There are some parts of the play that start out well but could be snappier – the most obvious of these being the final scene, which takes a frustratingly long time to reach its dramatic climax. In addition, there are a lot of scene changes, which while executed smoothly by a well-oiled stage crew, inevitably interrupt the action and don’t always feel completely necessary.
We all love a good mystery, and She Wears Scented Rose is definitely that; the plot is well-crafted and keeps us guessing throughout so that even if we succeed in figuring out one bit, there’s always another twist waiting round the corner to catch us off guard. The characters are relatable enough that we grow to care about them (and in one case, really really dislike) so that when everything starts to kick off in Act 2, we can sympathise with what they’re going through. And I know I keep going on about it, but that ending does make a huge impact, with one particular image lingering in my memory – and not in a good way.
There’s already an enjoyable show here, but with a few tweaks to script and staging to ramp up the intensity, there’s potential for an excellent and even more memorable production.
She Wears Scented Rose is at Theatro Technis until 29th April.