Death Of The Dowager

Date 20th May 2022
Society Denbigh Phoenix Players
Type of Production Play
Director Mary Glaze


Author: Lyn Emmerson

At last, we are firing on all cylinders with our productions. It is great to be visiting Societies in District 1 once again, and my visit to Denbigh Phoenix Players was no exception. There was a real buzz in the foyer which was busy with members of the audience looking at the cast photos and purchasing a quick drink before entering the auditorium. There was a lovely atmosphere with folks meeting friends they hadn’t seen since before lockdown.

The play comprised of 2 Acts set over 3 days. The set had a 1920’s feeling with all the appropriate props including comfortable settees, paintings, a piano of that era and of course the important drinks trolley, cleverly secreted behind a settee. The cast were well rehearsed and there were no prompts.

Ian Gardner-Long took the role of Brigadier Charles Brightman, the Dowager’s brother with aplomb, whilst Annmarie Jones was faultless as Millicent Buffington, one of the Dowager’s two daughters.  Millicent’s ex - Army, brandy loving husband, Buffo Buffington, was in the capable hands of John Owen, who extracted every ounce of comedy from his script and never dropped his upper class ‘What Ho’ accent on any occasion during the whole performance.  Another solid performance from Rowena Owen as Mary Towcliffe, the Dowager’s other daughter. Rowena had the correct intonation for the role and never failed to bring out the sarcasm of the piece, never once denying wishing to see the final days of the Dowager. Her timing was spot on, which added to a splendid portrayal of this forceful character. John Ovington and Sue Downes gave good characterisations of the Domestics, as Mr & Mrs Tompkins, Butler and Housekeeper respectively and Susanne Clayton was on top form as Miss Elizabeth Smith, the Dowager’s Companion. Kevin Dalziel and Pete Kirkham completed the cast as Doctor and Policeman, each giving a valuable contribution to the success of the piece.

As always with a Comedy Murder Mystery, all I can say is a wonderful evening’s entertainment as I must keep quiet as to the outcome, but what I will say is Thank You, Denbigh Phoenix Players for your invitation, Congratulations to all involved and I look forward to your next production. I am sure the accolade the Company received at the conclusion of the piece was evidence in itself that Amateur Productions are once again up and running. Thank you Denbigh Phoenix Players     

This is the opinion of the Reviewer.