In 1939, Tom Hickman (Shane Richie) runs a small jazz club in Shoreditch with his wife Massie (Natasha Wightman). Enter glam singer Butterfly (Joely Richardson) - and with her, trouble. Meanwhile, in the present day, another young man called Tom Hickman (Adam Ross) unexpectedly inherits an office block in Shoreditch - - and finds a jazz club bricked up in the basement...
Writer/director Malcolm Needs' debut aims to revitalise the clichés of the British crime flick with a touch of mystery, nostalgia and flitting-between-the-decades complexity, but The Singing Detective this ain't. The dialogue clangs, characters are drawn from stock and EastEnders' Richie (making his first big-screen appearance) gives an unappealing, one-note performance as the pre-war Tom. Richardson fares slightly better as Butterfly, slinking and pouting for all she's worth, but her singing's strictly amateur night, so why does she take on Billie Holiday numbers?
It doesn't end there - - the pre-war scenes are devoid of period atmosphere, the flimsy plot has holes wide enough to accommodate an eight-piece band and the final `shock' revelation goes beyond ludicrous. A gig to avoid.