POPULAR American actor Patrick Duffy celebrated his 73rd birthday on Tuesday with a sterling performance alongside his real-life partner Linda Purl on stage at the Theatre Royal in Bath.,

They are both appearing in the mystery thriller Catch Me If You Can, in which ironically, Purl plays the part of an imposter pretending to be Duffy’s missing wife.

This highly entertaining play has a fiendishly intricate plot with more twists and turns than a corkscrew and nothing is quite what it seems and no-one is quite as they appear.

Patrick Duffy is best known in the UK for playing Bobby Ewing in the US oil drama Dallas and for the Man From Atlantis, while Linda Purl is remembered for her roles in Happy Days and Homeland.

Their real-life romance blossomed after spending four months in online group chats during the Covid pandemic lockdowns in 2020. In Catch Me If You Can they have an obviously easy on-stage partnership, which adds to the drama as the plot turns and twists.

Written by Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert, Bob Tomson makes a more than decent job of directing this new UK touring production of the classic Broadway thriller.

American detective inspector Levine (Gray O’Brien) is called to a holiday home in the remote Catskills mountains in New York State to investigate the disappearance of newly-married Elizabeth Corban (Linda Purl) only days into her honeymoon.

But when ‘Elizabeth’ suddenly turns up, her advertising executive husband Daniel Corban (Patrick Duffy) seems more surprised than relieved and declares her to be an imposter, unleashing an extraordinary sequence of events as Levine tries to solve the mystery of her disappearance.

Several days after she goes missing, Daniel is visited by a local priest, Father Kelleher (Ben Nealon), who brings home Daniel’s wife. Daniel, however, is convinced that this woman is an imposter, hell-bent on making him appear mentally unhinged.

Duffy brings a quiet presence to the stage as the slightly reticent, concerned husband turned fraud victim, slowly becoming more desperate as he attempts to convince Levine of his innocence.

Purl dominates the stage from her first entrance, injecting energy into the plot with her Machiavellian characterisation of Elizabeth Corban. Her stand-out performance is the lynchpin of the entire production.

Gray O’Brien also puts in a sterling performance as Levine, with his flippant wisecracks adding much of the humour to the plot.

In a small cast of just seven actors, there is solid support from local café and takeaway owner Sidney (Hugh Futcher), holiday home-owner Everett Parker (Paul Lavers) and his wife Mrs Parker (Chloe Zeitounian).

The plot is full of illusion and nothing is quite what it seems, so much so that after the first act you are left wondering what to believe and whether anyone is actually telling the truth.

Amateur sleuths will love the ‘whodunnit’ guessing game in this production that rivets you to your seat right until the end.


Catch Me If You Can tours to the Theatre Royal Bath to Saturday, May 21. Tickets are on sale at the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 and online at www.theatreroyal.org.uk