THEATRE THERAPY: A thrilling crime translation from book to stage – Review

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In a digital age where my reading is Audible only, I confess in the midst of the summer holidays  One of my absolute favourite nights out is spent at the theatre for some much-needed self-care with a loved one and, I am lucky to be a scenic long bus ride away from Leeds Grand Theatre… but Looking Good Dead… was the title of this show?!  

My friend Abigayle and I, two online content creators (She Talks Cars and me Mama Mei) and business owners (Glam Aesthetic and Sparkle Communications) needed a night off to focus our minds and escape in the magic of the theatre (after a compulsory food stop in Leeds and digital shopping trip). 

In a world of predictability from Netflix to E-books and suggested shows online, I love nothing more than an utter theatrical surprise and that’s definitely what I got!… 

Looking Good Dead: What’s it all about? 

Cling to the edge of your seat: the world premiere stage production of Peter James’Looking Good Dead is set to thrill Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday 6 to Saturday 11 September 2021.


Starring award-winning actor and EastEnders icon, Adam Woodyatt, and star of stage and screen Gaynor Faye (Emmerdale, Coronation Street, The Syndicate), Looking Good Dead is Peter James’s fifth novel to be brought to the stage and follows the hugely successful productions of The House on Cold Hill starring Joe McFadden and Rita Simons, Not Dead Enough starring Shane Richie and Laura Whitmore, The Perfect Murder starring Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace, and Dead Simple starring Tina Hobley.

Premise: No good deed goes unpunished… hours after picking up a USB memory stick, left behind on a train seat, Tom Bryce (Adam Woodyatt) inadvertently becomes a witness to a vicious murder. Reporting the crime to the police has disastrous consequences, placing him and his family in grave danger. When Detective Superintendent Roy Grace becomes involved, he has his own demons to contend with while he tries to crack the case in time to save the Bryce family’s lives.


This exhilarating evening will keep you gripped until the final chilling moments.

There is no need to translate this whistle-stop Theatre adaptation of Peter James’ novel Looking Good Dead.

Featuring soap stars from screen to the stage at Leeds Grand Theatre as we read the layers of this thriller, originally published as a crime novel which has already been translated in book format to countries worldwide.

The layers of stories, the characters, and the script are set around a classic gripping story with the added dynamic of the YouTube platform being used to livestream the murder and subsequent attempted murder and kidnapping of the main three characters.

My confession: The twists and turns of the show live stream to all viewers this complex yet simple to follow literary adaptation. There is no need for translation, including for novices like me.

I have never read the novel nor have I heard of it and I was put off by initially by the book cover when I researched Looking Good Dead in the hours prior to my review.

But my friend and I who ironically both run YouTube channels, about unrelated topics such as well-being and cars may add, were swept along by this masterpiece for all.

If you’re new to crime novels, the Theatre or you simply need a night out at Leeds Grand Theatre, make sure you ease yourself back in with this burst of brilliance. There was no live stream countdown set for us, despite our short usually shot social media attention spans, as we were surprised when it was the interval as well as the end.

It left us wanting more and maybe even picking up this multi-layered book of complex simplicity.


@grandtheatrels1 @AdamWoodyatt @MsGFaye Twitter: @peterjamesstage Instagram: @peterjamesonstage

Looking Good Dead Cast

Adam Woodyatt is the longest serving cast member in EastEnders having appeared continuously as Ian Beale since the show began in 1985. For his portrayal of the role he was honoured in 2013 with the Lifetime Achievement Award and, in 2015 after the EastEnders 30th Anniversary Live episode, Best Actor at the British Soap Awards.

Looking Good Dead marks Adam’s return to stage in a play for the first time since 1982 as a 13-year-old at the National Theatre in Tom Stoppard’s On The Razzle. In addition to EastEnders Adam has also appeared on many TV programmes including Robot WarsDream HouseA Question of Sport, presented The National Lottery draw live and last year was a contestant on Celebrity Masterchef. He has also previously appeared in the pantomimes Peter PanSnow WhiteAladdinMother Goose and Cinderella.

Gaynor Faye played the role of Megan Macey in Emmerdale for seven years. She is also well-known for playing Judy Mallett in Coronation Street and most recently played Cheryl Armitage in the BBC1 drama The Syndicate. Her many other TV credits include Fat Friends and Playing The Field. Gaynor’s stage credits include Celia in the original West End production of Calendar Girls and Rose in the recent UK premiere and tour of Band of Gold. Other stage credits include the Narrator in Jonathan Harvey’s comedy play Corrie! and Cathy in Wuthering Heights for Hull Truck.

Additional cast includes: Harry Long (Roy Grace), Ian Houghton (Jonas), Leon Stewart (Branson), Gemma Stroyan (Bella), Luke Ward-Wilkinson (Max Bryce), Mylo McDonald (Mick) and Natalie Boakye (Janie)

Looking Good Dead Creatives

Peter James’ Looking Good Dead is produced by Joshua Andrews and Peter James and has been adapted for the stage by Shaun Mckenna. An award-winning British dramatist, Shaun’s previous theatre credits include Ladies in LavenderThe Lord of The Rings musical and Peter James’ The Perfect Murder, Dead SimpleNot Dead Enough and The House on Cold HillPeter James’ Looking Good Dead is directed by Jonathan O’Boyle, designed by Michael Holt with Lighting Design by Jason Taylor. The Composer and Sound Designer is Max Pappenheim.

Peter James is a number one bestselling author of crime and thriller novels and the creator of the much-loved Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, now a major ITV series, GRACE. He has topped the Sunday Times best seller list 18 times and has achieved global book sales of over 21 million copies which have been translated into 37 languages.

Synonymous with plot twisting page turners, he has garnered an army of loyal fans throughout his storytelling career which also included writing for TV and producing films. He has won over 40 awards for his work, including the WHSmith Best Crime Author of All Time Award, Crime Writers’ Association Diamond Dagger and a BAFTA nomination for The Merchant of Venice starring Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons for which he was an Executive Producer.  



Peter James’ Looking Good Dead is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday 6 to Saturday 11 September 2021

Book online at or call 0113 243 0808

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