A Decent Interval (Charles Paris)
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After a long period of ‘resting’, life is looking up for Charles Paris, who has been cast as the Ghost of Hamlet’s Father and First Gravedigger in a new production of Hamlet. But rehearsals are fraught. Ophelia is played by Katrina Selsey, who won the role through a television talent show. Hamlet himself is also played by a reality TV contestant, Jared Root – and the two young stars have rather different views of celebrity and the theatre than the more experienced members of the cast.
But when the company reach the first staging post of their tour, the Grand Theatre Marlborough, matters get more serious, with one member of the company seriously injured in what appears to be an accident, and another dead. Once again, Charles Paris is forced to don the mantle of amateur detective to get to the bottom of the mystery.
well, and when the house lights came up for the interval the applause was long and loud. Charles Paris also reckoned that he had witnessed the emergence of a new star. Some actors, he knew, however good they were in rehearsal, only came alive in front of an audience. A few improved immeasurably in those circumstances, reaching heights of passion they had never reached before. And Charles reckoned Sam Newton-Reid was a member of that select band. In the scene on the battlements that the Ghost
comedy tortoiseshell glasses. Watching the repeat of StarHunt made Charles extremely cross. Is this what the theatre’s come to? he fulminated into his whisky glass. Can’t a production of one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays get into the West End without this ridiculous publicity circus? And, even more pertinent, can’t Ophelia be cast by the normal auditioning process, to reward some genuinely talented young person who has worked her way through drama school and the early dispiriting uncertainties
getting involved in a no doubt time-consuming police enquiry, one small white lie would let her off the hook. So she told Detective Constable Whittam that she had caught an earlier train to London than the one she actually had. End of story.’ He was good, Charles had to admit. The sweet reasonableness with which Dan had put Peri’s case made arguing against it seem almost churlish. But sometimes one just had to be a bit churlish. ‘Listen,’ Charles began, ‘the police are investigating Katrina
underwhelmed. ‘There’s more than one interpretation to what you heard.’ ‘Oh, come on.’ ‘And even if it’s true, that Doug did pay Bazza to cause the accident, the charge would never stand up in a court of law.’ ‘Maybe not, but from the way Bazza reacted when I talked about it this evening, I know it is true.’ That merited no more than another shrug. ‘And what would Doug’s motive have been in taking that rather extreme step of causing an injury to Jared Root?’ ‘Look, Tony, it was clear to
destroy). Portie was seen in supporting roles in a couple of mediocre movies, but clearly didn’t crack Hollywood in a major way. For all Charles Paris knew, he may have had a perfectly successful career in the States, starring in miniseries and Movies of the Week, but none of his work made much impact in the UK. Looking at him in Joe Allen, Charles could see that Portie hadn’t aged well. The excesses of his lifestyle had taken their toll. Now in his sixties, the famous thatch of golden hair had