Beyond Reasonable Doubt
by Jeffrey Archer


scene from play
scene from the play

















February / March 2012

The play begins with the trial of Sir David Metcalfe QC (David Joyce), who is accused of murdering his wife.

The audience is left in suspense as Act 1 ends at the point when the court usher asks the foreman of the jury for his verdict.

Act 2 goes back in time to Sir David’s house, a week before his wife’s death. During the trial, Mrs Rogers (Ann Dawson), the Metcalfe’s housekeeper, had told the court of the many instances of arguments between the couple, occasionally ending in violence. However, during Act 2 we see that the relationship between Sir David and his wife (Anne Joyce) was indeed very loving and caring. We see his desperation as Lady Metcalfe’s illness took hold.
Finally, we see exactly what did happen at the moment that the fatal pill was administered, along with another twist at the end, two weeks after the trial ended.

A trial scene is always difficult to do on stage, due to the restrictive movement of a courtroom situation, however the director Fran Williams and her cast overcame the issues admirably, with several tense exchanges between the prosecuting barrister, Anthony Blair-Booth QC (Dave Steward) and Sir David.
This play is fairly unique in that there is a full set change during the interval, from the courtroom of Act 1 to the Metcalfe’s living room of Act 2. There were several audible gasps from the audience when the curtain arose after the interval.

Ann Dawson was perfect as the long-suffering housekeeper. We see how her ill feeling towards her boss was entirely justified in her eyes, but we also see how she was mistaken when she walked in on conversations at the most inopportune moments.

However, the most tender tear-jerking moments came between Sir David and his wife, with David & Anne Joyce giving fantastic performances. Certainly not a dry eye in the house.
Huge thanks must go to Dave Steward and Ann Dawson who stepped in at the last minute – both were wonderful in their roles. This play also welcomed a new member to the stage – Tom Newport.
This was Fran Williams’ directorial debut at the Venture Theatre, and we hope it won’t be her last.

scene from the play