The scene is set. A dark and stormy night in the wilds of Northern England. A Victorian mansion which was splendid in its day and richly furnished, but which is now rather dilapidated and in need of some TLC. And to cap it all off, a rather dysfunctional family who have just been told they have been disinherited in favour of an almost complete stranger, and will be homeless and penniless on the death of the head of the family. Is it any surprise then that a murder is about to be committed?
Playwright Alan Ayckbourn has always enjoyed dissecting family squabbles for our enjoyment, and this comedy/whodunit is no exception. Although it's played mainly for laughs, there are still some chills and thrills along the way, and a challenge to the audience to spot the killer (or killers — we're giving nothing away here!).
The plot revolves around three siblings, whose long-dead mother (who had no artistic talent of her own but fondly hoped that her children did) has set them up in the old family home as a sort of artists' colony. There's Mortimer Chalke (Les Zetlein), the bombastic pianist/composer older brother who holds all the purse strings—and who's just changed his will so disconcertingly in favour of his piano student of 20 years ago, Wendy (Bernadette Abberdan). His nervous, ineffectual younger brother Brinton (Jarrod Chave) claims to be an artist, but nobody has ever seen any of his paintings. Their peace-loving sister Jocelyn (Anita Canala) has written 34 detective novels without managing to finish one of them. Her 16 year-old daughter Amy (Georgia Bolton) is very good at eating but little else, whilst her live-in boyfriend Norris (Jack Robins) dreams of being a 'proper' detective one day. He soon gets his chance, but with clues and red herrings galore, will he finally nail the perpetrator?
In his usual fashion, Ayckbourn has another twist up his sleeve. The identity of the murderer(s) can change every night, depending on the turn of a card. Even the cast don't know 'whodunit' until half-way through the play. That should keep them on their toes!
Thursday 13th November @ 8pm
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