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Audio Review: Sapphire and Steel - The Mystery of the Missing Hour 
5th-Jun-2010 12:26 pm
Mystery of the Missing Hour (Sapphire & Steel 2.6) Mystery of the Missing Hour by Joseph Lidster

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This play is kind an odd one. We start off following an upper-class British family at the Cairo Hilton in 1926. The whole thing feels a bit like a parody of Agatha Christie. Soon, someone in the hotel is murdered, and Shuffle and Sixpence, who are apparently famous amateur detectives, are on the case.

It's very quickly apparent that something weird is going on. Not only are our heroes Sapphire and Steel masquerading as Shuffle and Sixpence, but they seem to have forgotten that it is a masquerade. Occasionally they experience flashes of their old lives, but for the most part they seemed to be convinced that they are Shuffle and Sixpence, happily married couple and famous amateur sleuths. But the other guests are behaving equally oddly, from their bizarrely inappropriate emotional responses to the fact that one of them has a habit of fluffing her lines. Finally, Shuffle/Steel figures out what's going on, and the play takes off in a very different direction.

And what happens next is the kind of weird, metafictional, 4th wall-breaking stuff that I'm completely a sucker for. I don't want to say too much about it, because I think it's more effective if you experience it without knowing too much about what to expect.

The play is to some extent a follow-on from Water Like a Stone, and it makes reference to almost every previous Sapphire and Steel play in the range. I think it pays to at least be familiar with Water Like a Stone before listening.

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