Out of Sight... Out of Murder, 27th to 29th April
A Mystery Comedy by Fred Carmichael. Peter Knight, a mystery writer, is grinding out a murder story in a drafty old mansion where another author was murdered years before. Minna, the sensible housekeeper, welcomes Peter to the house and keeps an eye on him. Peter’s career is on the slide and to save it, he must come up with something special. But what happens next is more incredible than anything he could have imagined. In a fierce storm, a lightning strike effects a cosmic snafu and his book characters come to life to create the perfect murder plot for him. Peter is in a state of sustained bewilderment as the fictional characters run circles round him as he tries to make sense of their shenanigans.
Sherfield Village Hall, Sherfield on Loddon, near Basingstoke, Hampshire.
Review of Tiptoe Through the Tombstones
26th to 28th November 2015.
Review from Newbury Theatre.
Tiptoe Through the Tombstones is Norman Robbins’ sequel to A Tomb with a View, set in the same location of the Tomb family’s home but with a different set of characters, as most of the original family were killed off in the first play. However, the plots and characterisations of the two plays are very similar. The family members have gathered at the behest of solicitor Mortimer Crayle, ostensibly to arrange the division of the estate of patriarch Septimus but Crayle’s plan is more sinister. With the help of his secretary Zoe, he plans to dispose of the Tomb family and misappropriate the fortune.
The opening scene with Vernon and Edna, supplied to do the cleaning and catering for the event, set a good pace, with Peter Francis as the outrageously camp Vernon and Jo Long as the gormless maid Edna. David White as Crayle gave the right air of authority with a hint of deviousness, but was a bit difficult to hear at times. Emily Browne was good as the efficient and rather superior Zoe.
Then there were the Tombs. A well-differentiated set of characters who deserved to be played over-the-top – and they were. Octavia (Joy L’Enfant), the weird psychic; Henrietta (Chris Horton), the butch glutton; Augustus (Steve Schollar), the ineffectual and permanently angry male heir (perhaps a little too OTT here); Athene (Margot Konitzer), the dizzy herbal specialist; Fabia (Maggie Browne), the brash nymphomaniac – all played with great panache.
Larry Lewis (Matt Stanley) aka Coughdrop the Clown and in full clown getup was thrust into the crazy family gathering and, surprisingly, was the only normal one there. Not that it would do him much good; from the cast of ten, only two were still alive at the end.
These were good performances from a strong cast. I particularly liked Jo Long’s body language as she clumped around and Maggie Browne’s brazen flirting, provoking wide-eyed terror from the clown. The pace was generally good, but slipped a bit at times. The set was the best I’ve seen at Loddon and the costumes were excellent.
Co-directors Chris Horton and Maggie Browne brought out the humour and have come up with another impressive Loddon Players production, for the group’s tenth anniversary.
Murder at the Manor, 24th to 26th November 2016
Love Begins at Fifty, 21st to 23rd April 2016
Tiptoe Through the Tombstones, 26th to 28th November 2015
Lucky Sods, 16th to 18th April 2015. See the review in the archive.
Play On!, 27th to 29th November 2014. See the review in the archive.
Confusions, 1st to 3rd May 2014
Habeas Corpus, 28th to 30th November 2013
Steel Magnolias, 2nd to 4th May 2013
Joking Apart, 29th November to 1st December 2012
The Opposite Sex, 26th to 28th April 2012
A Murder Mystery Evening, 24th to 26th November 2011
Key for Two, 28th to 30th April 2011
Verdict, 30th September to 2nd October 2010
Private Lives, 26th to 28th November 2009
The Tristram Trio, 23rd to 25th April 2009
3 one-act plays all by David Tristram (the "Tristram Trio"). 1) Last Tango in Little Grimley 2) Joining The Club 3) What's for Pudding?
A Chorus of Disapproval, 27th to 29th November 2008
Inspector Drake and the Perfekt Crime, 24th to 26th April 2008
Blithe Spirit, 23rd to 24th November 2007
Trivial Pursuits, 27th to 29th April 2007
Daisy Pulls It Off, 17th to 18th November 2006
Day of Reckoning, 28th to 30th April 2006. See the review in the Archive.
The Fat Lady Sings in Little Grimley, 18th to 19th November 2005