Dead Guilty

Previewed 5 July 1995, Opened 17 July 1995, Closed 16 March 1996 at the Apollo Theatre

A major production of Richard Harris' new thriller Dead Guilty in London starring Jenny Seagrove and Hayley Mills

Two women, Two secrets. A truth that kills. Julia, a professional businesswoman, is seriously traumatised and becomes housebound following a car accident. But as her friends look after her, a series of events lead her to believe that someone knows that the accident was not quite what it seems.

The cast features Jenny Seagrove as 'Julia', Hayley Mills as 'Margaret', Niall Refoy as 'Gary', Angela Morant and Barry Cookson as the 'voice of the Coroner. Directed by Auriol Smith with designs by Alexander McPherson and lighting by Joe Atkins. Jenny Seagrove's recent West End credits include Richard Olivier's revival of William Gibson's play The Miracle Worker at the Comedy Theatre in 1994.

"You would have to be half asleep not to work out what is going on in Richard Harris's so-called mystery thriller. It is not so much a who-dunit as a why-did-they-bother? The two women are Julia, played by Jenny Seagrove, who has just lost her lover, and Margaret, played by Hayley Mills, who has just lost her husband. And - brace yourself for a shock - it is the same man!... The two secrets are how much the widow knows and what she plans to do about it after striking up a friendship with her husband's attractive young travelling companion. The truth that kills is that it is all so terribly long-drawn-out and boring. Miss Seagrove gamely limps along in various stages of distress as the injured Julia. But it is only when Miss Mills - born to wear twin set and pearls - goes from twittering tea maker to nanny from hell that the evening comes alive. But by then it is far too late." The Daily Mirror

"Richard Harris's new thriller is in many ways an enjoyable affair, but at its centre there is an extraordinary improbability. Can you believe that there would be just three people in the life of someone as attractive and appealing as Jenny Seagrove, and that one of them would be a desperately earnest psychotherapist, another a yobbo she has employed as a general factotum, and the third the boring and overbearing widow of her ageing lover? No, nor could I. Seagrove brings a nice mix of vulnerability and gumption to the role of Julia... Seagrove gives an impeccable performance and Mills, although less formidable than she might be, a pretty good one. But there are two, maybe three weaknesses in the text. We never feel the stakes are as high as, finally, they turn out to be. As a consequence of that and some slightly lax writing, there is not as much tension as there should be. And not until the very end do we get what I, admittedly someone congenitally lacking in gooseflesh, would call a scary moment." The Times

"Richard Harris's Dead Guilty at the Apollo Theatre is an old-fashioned psychological thriller of the kind you might have found in the West End 30 years ago: the key difference is that women are now the focus of the action and there is not a single hob-nailed bobby or mackintoshed inspector in sight... As a thriller, the play suffers from a shortage of suspects. As a psychological study of guilt and obsession, it tells us nothing very startling: Julia's odd friendship with the ministering widow, Margaret, is explained as an unconscious desire to be found out and punished for past sins... Auriol Smith directs smoothly, Jenny Seagrove ensures you don't sympathise too much with the twitchy, abrasive Julia, and Hayley Mills, forever plumping cushions, is plausible and true as the cosy, suburban widow. Now thrillers have almost disappeared from the West End, one begins to feel quite nostalgic for them. This one is decent, professional, spasmodically tense but a bit long drawn-out and somewhat torn between playing the armchair shrink and providing shlocky shocks." The Guardian

Dead Guilty in London at the Apollo Theatre previewed from 5 July 1995, opened on 17 July 1995 and closed on 16 March 1996