FOR the third year running, the London Repertory Players are in Bournemouth, treating audiences to the kind of well-made plays that were once an institution in theatres all over the country.

This year, there are four titles over four weeks, all of them thrillers, with the programme changing midweek to allow holiday-makers to see two shows during their stay.

First up is The Murder Game, a 1976 thriller for four players by Constance Cox.

Brian Hamilton (Neil James) is an unfaithful husband, whose estranged wife Sheila (Kirsty Cox) has changed her mind about letting him keep the home in the divorce.

When a stranger, Gerry Stephens (Musa Trevathan) turns up at their door and quizzes Brian about his problems, the audience fairly quickly guesses the solution that the visitor intends to offer. But Brian will come to regret taking an apparently easy route to a new life with his lover June (Hepzibah Roe).

In a play like this, with a single set and lots of detail in the dialogue, everything depends on the performances, and they are all first rate. The intimate atmosphere of the Shelley Theatre makes it all the easier to stay engrossed as the plot unfolds.

The play may be dated in some respects, particularly when a character’s homosexuality reveals itself in a murderous hostility to women and a fondness for knitting. But this is nonetheless a very exciting thriller, ably executed under the direction of Al Wadlan.

Roll on next Thursday and JB Priestley’s Dangerous Corner.