Review: She Wears Scented Rose
Image: Razor Sharp Productions
Mark - Craig Karpel
David - Simon Ryerson
Verity - Niki Mylonas
DI Kane - Rosalie Carn
Dr Micalou - Christopher Dascalopoulos
Denly - Michael Mayne
Mr Steel - Martin Banalow
Neve - Emma von Schreiber
Sadie - Chalotte Campbell
Nurse - Kerry-Ann Goode
A nail-biting, thriller of a stage-play which tells the story of Mark, a happily married family man, who becomes the victim of a car-jacking which leaves him in hospital fighting for his life.
It appears a straight forward case of a robbery which has gone wrong, but is there more to the crime than meets the eye?
Following a very successful two week run at Theatro Technis in Camden in April 2017, "She Wears Scented Rose" is back by popular demand for another two week run in October 2018.
A long-term friendship and a lengthy marriage are just two of the multitude of elements in this complex whodunnit which also has a streak of the thriller.
Right at the start, we discover a victim who has been stabbed late at night.
At first, it seems like it might be a case of a car-jacking - though the multiple stab wounds Mark has suffered seems excessive given the suggested motive for the crime.
But when Detective Inspector Kane starts to get into the evidence she discovers more about the stab wounds that point to a perpetrator other than a 'young' fellow' out to steal a flash car.
Given the nature of Yasir Senna's play (which he also directs) it's almost impossible to give much more away about the plot or how it unfolds without spoiling some of the surprises and the twists and turns it contains.
Though it's not a particularly impressive plot in terms of novelty, there's enough in the piece to maintain interest - even if we can occasionally predict what might be coming next.
It's also, in general, a believable plot that is rooted in the familiar, and focuses on personality traits which are also clearly recognisable - particularly in terms of Mark, the central character here who almost dies from his wounds and whose story about how he acquired them doesn't ultimately bear scrutiny.
Some other matters surface during the play which left me doubting their validity and believability.
For example, Rosalie Carn's Inspector Kane employs an unorthodox, and unprofessional technique to discover Mark's underlying attitude towards women, even though she clearly had evidence that would have enabled her to discover the truth about how he got his wounds.
Yasir Senna's production bears the hallmarks of thoughtful precision, but that in itself starts to slow down proceedings and also gives rise to some intemperance.
There are a quite number of scene changes that have to be effected by a team of stage hands.
Though calmly and deliberately efficient, they don't show much sign of urgency which slows the pace, sometimes considerably - though there are junctures when a brief respite from the developing plot is apt.
And there were scene changes that might have been avoided altogether and some which could have been simplified in order to boost the pace.
There are also times during the play when the characters' reactions are excessive and where a little less in terms of anger or grief could have been so much more, without removing or diminishing essential motivation on which plot developments depend.
That's certainly the case with a rather macabre scene in the mortuary, and in a scene in a hospital room with Sadie and Mark screaming and shouting at each other - which unbelievably goes entirely unnoticed by hospital staff.
She Wears Scented Rose gets a re-run here after an initial outing last year and that suggests it was favoured by theatre-goers.
That's probably not surprising because this is a popular genre, and the story here is enough to engage an audience.
However, more subtlety and restraint in some of the characterisations and a touch of judicial pruning of the less realistic plot points would lift it considerably.
Links and related content
ActDrop listing for Theatro Technis
Our show listing for She Wears Scented Rose
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