Review: Rebus at Birmingham REP

by David Fox

Rebus: Long Shadows at Birmingham Rep

Detective Inspector John Rebus is back in a new play written exclusively for the stage, performing this at Birmingham Repertory Theatre until Saturday 6th October.

Rebus (played by Coronation Street’s Charles Lawson) is now retired, but the shadows of his former life still follow him through the streets of Edinburgh. Whisky helped but now he’s denying himself that pleasure. But when the daughter of a murder victim appears outside his flat, he’s back on the case and off the wagon. Soon Rebus is caught between two cases and can only turn to one person to help him – the man he spent his career trying to arrest.

Cathy Tyson as Siobhan Clarke and Charles Lawson as Rebus photo by Robert Day
Cathy Tyson as Siobhan Clarke and Charles Lawson as Rebus photo by Robert Day

Having not read any of Ian Rankin’s novels this was my first encounter with Rebus. I found him to be an interesting and engaging character, and the drama was engaging and intriguing. Charles Lawson puts in a fantastic central performance – never leaving the stage for entirety of the play. If you have only seen him in Coronation Street then it worth seeing him in this. He was supported by a strong ensemble cast with particularly good performances from by Cathy Tyson and John Stahl. The simple set was effective – a central staircase that allowed the drama to unfold across different levels on stage made it interesting to watch.

The play certainly evoked the dark side of Edinburgh and it was easy to get lost in the drama. The plot did not drag and time seemed to pass quickly as the drama unfolded. I particularly enjoyed the tense scenes between Lawson and Stahl toward the end of the play.

Charles Lawson as Rebus and John Stahl as Cafferty photo by Robert Day
Charles Lawson as Rebus and John Stahl as Cafferty photo by Robert Day

Rebus: Long Shadows, is adapted for the stage in a new story by Rona Munro, was an enjoyable evening at the theatre watching a dark, gritty, and contemporary crime drama. Established Rebus fans, as well as newcomers, along with fans of detective dramas will find much to enjoy in the great production. Book now!

Rebus: Long Shadows is playing at Birmingham Rep until Saturday 6th October.
Tickets can be booked birmingham-rep.co.uk/whats-on/rebus-long-shadows


This isn’t a sponsored post. David Fox was invited by Birmingham Rep to see Rebus: Long Shadows for #BrumHour.

Take a look at #BrumHour’s Birmingham Rep: Season Preview here brumhour.wordpress.com/2018/07/24/new-season-preview-birmingham-rep

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