A Fete Worse than Death

Date 20th April 2017
Society Bath Unity Players
Venue Southdown Church Hall, Bath
Type of Production Murder Mystery play
Director Tom Jenkins
Musical Director -
Choreographer -

Report

Author: Dee Way

As a play specifically for village hall performance, this comic murder mystery fitted the church hall venue perfectly! There were lovely touches of ‘fete’ décor: the beer tent (tea hatch) with the children’s ‘Pet on a Plate’ art competition on the walls, bunting, the flyers and programmes on the tables.

This was the first full-length production undertaken by the Director Tom Jenkins, and he is to be congratulated on a very entertaining and puzzling evening. The cast were disciplined and well rehearsed, with a lot of humour being generated by outrageous comments in the script - and the flirting of Violet! The planning for the production was clearly very efficient, with no pauses in the performance and cast characters moving items as necessary onstage.

The stage was set with two tables for the Home Produce competition that lies at the heart of the plot. The simplicity of the set and venue added an authenticity to the production that served it well. The yellowish back curtains could well have formed a marquee.

Costumes were lovely, with Trish in a pink dress and matching wellies and Nigel dressed as a Viking, complete with horned helmet. Bunny appeared the epitome of a countrywoman with her wide-brimmed hat, married to an obsessive marrow grower in Malcolm, with his old clothes and pullover.  His rival marrow grower was the Vicar, the young Rev. Hattie, dressed in dog collar and black shirt while Violet was resplendent in black hat, glasses and red top.

Lighting was simple and straightforward, and well controlled. There were some shadows down stage right and left, but with the limits on the lighting available, this was inevitable. The sound was effective, with a speech played on cue and at a good volume. There was atmospheric music at times, especially from the brass band noted as playing for the event. Such details, mentioned in the script or to create the right atmosphere, are so important!

This was a fun evening that had our ‘little grey cells’ trying hard to work out who could possibly have committed the crime. The denouement was interesting and creative, as Violet turned amateur detective to help Ray solve the mystery. For the cast, this was a chance to play some interesting characters. We had a very enjoyable evening.