There was a time when the well-crafted thriller was the staple of the West End stage.

The breed is rarer today but the ongoing success of crime novelists demonstrates that the public hunger for the genre remains undiminished.

One of the best practitioners of the art was NJ Crisp, whose name adorned many TV dramas in the Sixties and Seventies.

His 1986 thriller, Dangerous Obsession, is possibly his biggest stage hit and this revival pushes all the right buttons.

It's a strange piece, halfway between a morality play and a thriller, the sort of play JB Priestley would have written if he'd lived through the Eighties.

There's something quite dated about the central couple too. Their boastful affluence seems to belong to another era.

Director Alan Cohen must also have felt there was something outmoded about the play, as it has been touched up with some modern trimmings a blast of Kylie here, a reference to a current advertising campaign there.

And there's something strange about the central theme of the play.

It seems highly unlikely a stranger creeping around the back of a woman's house would be invited in on the basis of a previous chance encounter.

In today's security-conscious environment the police would have been called before he'd passed the azaleas.

But if the play starts slowly and implausibly, no one can dispute Crisp's sure touch. It quickly picks up pace and it's not long before we are drawn into the story until a spectacular coup heralds the end of the first act.

It's not spoiling the story to say there are many more revelations in the second act, even if the ending seems a little flat.

All the cast are excellent. Ian Ogilivy is the underdog who bites back, while Lisa Goddard and Martyn Standbridge are totally believable as the couple whose shallow marriage is brutally exposed.

It might be formulaic but the cast work hard to bring their thinly-sketched characters to life. A good, old-fashioned evening out with a good, old-fashioned play.

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