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The Basildonians

The Basildonians web site is at www.basildonians.org.

Last production

Where

Basildon Village Hall.

Box Office

0118 984 1122.

Review of The Hollow

15th to 18th May 2013.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

All the usual suspects, but whodunit?

Basildonians: The Hollow, at Basildon Village Hall, from May 15 to May 18

The Basildonians have been producing plays for the past 35 years and The Hollow by Agatha Christie was Samantha Rawdon's directorial debut for the company and a very accomplished job she made of this country house murder mystery,

The novel was written in 1946 with the Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot as the detective but when the stage adaptation was performed, she replaced him in favour of the resilient Inspector Colquhoun of the Yard.

Basildon Village Hall is a splendid venue with raked seating, which made the auditorium very comfortable, and the staging facilities are good.

There was much attention to detail in the set design by Jan McDermott and Nick Thorowgood, that created the garden room of Sir Henry Angkatell’s country house, The Hollow, about 18 miles from London.

The period costumes (Penny Gilks, Sue Thorowgood) were well chosen and reflected the era beautifully.

The eccentric, dotty Lady Angkatell (Helen McCutcheon) and her gun-collecting husband Sir Henry (Chris Pett), who has a shooting range in the grounds, are hosting a weekend party with a house full of eclectic guests.

However, nothing goes to plan when the pompous Harley Street consultant Dr Cristow (Alex Buchan) is fatally shot by a single bullet from a Smith and Wesson revolver.

Apparently, almost all of the guests have a reason to kill Dr Cristow but matters are made more problematic when his oppressed wife Gerda (Corinne Brewer) is discovered with a revolver in her hand, standing over the body.

Amanda Winchester strikingly plays the American film star Veronica Craye who has taken a cottage nearby and was Cristow's ex-mistress and hopes to rekindle their affair, but when Cristow refuses to divorce his wife she declares that "if she can't have him then no one else can."

Then there is sculptress Henrietta (Sandra Wilkinson) who is his current lover and becomes insanely jealous of Veronica's attentions.

To further complicate matters, there is a love triangle between Edward Angkatell (Adam Nightingale), who is also in love with Henrietta and Midge (Samantha Rawdon), who works in a dress shop in London and dotes on Edward.

Trying to maintain order in this chaotic household is Chris Hawson as the dependable, discreet butler, Gudgeon, and Doris (Jen Whelan), playing the housemaid who has witnessed a vital clue to the murder.

Inspector Colquhoun (Tony Place) has the unenviable task of unravelling this tangled web of murder and intrigue assisted by sergeant Penny (Dominic Perry-Brewer).

There is a long wait for the denouement and there was much talk in the intervals about who had done it. Of course it was... ????

Well, I really can't give it away.

ROBIN STRAPP

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