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Antony Costa and Sophie Ward in Ruth Rendell's A Judgement in Stone in Bromley, Dartford and Tunbridge Wells

By Angela Cole

It’s a crime thriller, and one where the murder has already taken place when it opens.

But don’t think that’s the end of the drama in Bill Kenwright’s adaptation of crime queen Ruth Rendell’s A Judgement in Stone. The thriller takes the audience back in time to the deceit, despair and cover-ups leading up to the deadly event – and there’s a shocking revelation almost as grisly as the murder itself.

The star-studded cast includes the likes of Shirley Anne Field, whose long career was launched when she played the part of Tina the Beauty Queen opposite Sir Laurence Oliver in The Entertainer, to former Blue singer Antony Costa.

Sophie Ward stars in Ruth Rendell's A Judgement in Stone
Sophie Ward stars in Ruth Rendell's A Judgement in Stone

Sophie Ward plays housekeeper Eunice. Having played the ill-fated love interest of Young Sherlock Holmes and Dr Helen Trent in long-running ITV drama Heartbeat, she may also be familiar after being hailed as the “Face of the 80s” in her modelling days.

Sophie, who was a fan of the Ruth Rendell book before taking on the role, said: “It isn’t a whodunnit – you know from the very beginning that there’s been a tragedy. You then are taken back in time to events leading up to it. It’s a crime thriller.

“It is great to be in a show with such a big cast. They are like your family when you are on the road and working together on the road. Although I try to not stay away from home if anywhere is commutable.”

She may have made her name initially as a model but acting has always been Sophie’s first love.

“I was an actor when I was about 10 years old,” she said. “When I was a schoolgirl I did some modelling while I was at school and it went from there, but I have always been an actor first and foremost.”

Blue's Antony Costa is among the cast of A Judgement in Stone
Blue's Antony Costa is among the cast of A Judgement in Stone

Still a well-known actor, Sophie also counts one celebrity in her family, as she has comedian Michael McIntyre as her brother-in-law.

But, unfortunately for those hoping he may be a laugh- a-minute in his private life, Sophie said: “He isn’t like he is on stage when he’s at home. He is just a person, I’m afraid!”

In A Judgement in Stone, the character she plays struggles to fit in. When Eunice joins a wealthy family as their housekeeper the reason for her awkwardness, long hidden, leads inexorably to a terrible tale of murder in cold blood.

Also included in the cast are Antony Costa from Blue, 60s pop star Mark Wynter, Deborah Grant from BBC’s Not Going Out, and Ben Nealon from ITV’s Soldier Soldier.


A Judgement in Stone will be at the Assembly Hall Theatre in Tunbridge Wells from Monday May 15 until Saturday, May 20. For tickets call 01892 530613 or visit assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk

It will be at the Orchard Theatre in Dartford from Monday, September 25 to Saturday, September 30. For tickets call 01322 220000 or go to orchardtheatre.co.uk

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