A Tomb With A View

Date 22nd April 2015
Society Compton Players
Venue Coronation Hall, Compton
Type of Production Comedy
Director Tracey Pearce


Author: Chris Horton

A Tomb With A View is a 1978 comedy thriller by Norman Robbins, set in the library of the Tomb Mansion, Monument House, shrouded in fog the crusty old lawyer, Penworthy – an assured and convincing portrayal by Eric Saxton – opens proceedings by getting ready to read the will of Septimus Tomb.  His offspring – a varied and very eccentric brood – gather like vultures.  There’s blustery, Lucien, full of his own importance who sees himself as the new head of the family, delightfully dotty Dora  who jumps at the mention of the policy and brash, abrupt and greedy Emily.  They learn that they are not the main beneficiaries, an authoress is on her way to claim the majority of the fortune.  They are aghast.  Dora (Brenda Prior), Emily (Jasmine Gartshore) and Monica (Helen Saxton) the sisters – each depicting varying traits of madness and lack of regard for life. 

The Tombs employ a nurse and cook/housekeeper: Naomi Read and Liz Saxton and they envisage a nest egg to comfort their lives.  The authoress arrives (Lauren Eely) and her secretary, Charlie East arrive but they are not what they seem.  The phone is out of order, the bodies start to pile up and to complete the evening of batty fun, an unseen brother, Oliver, thinks he’s a werewolf and we hear his howls from the basement.  Completing the cast of quirky characters Paul Shave as Marcus, dressed in a toga believes himself to be Julius Caesar. 

Each suspects the other as murders occur in rapid succession, stabbings, shootings, poisonings all hilarious and gloriously executed.  I particularly enjoyed Emily’s choking on the apple and being unceremoniously dragged off stage into the wings and a bedraggled Perry appearing after he crashed his car into the swamp!  Compton Players maintained a high level of acting and clearly relished their roles: Helen Saxton oozing charm and seduction as man-eating Monica pouncing on the reluctant Perry, deserves special praise. 

A Tomb With A View has all the ingredients for a spoof murder mystery and Compton Players served it all up with a dose of humour under imaginative direction from Tracey Pearce. The audience were kept in doubt as to the outcome, right to the end.    The result was a hugely enjoyable evening with guns firing, daggers and blood in profusion and among the grisly happenings there were laughs aplenty.