Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society present 'Murder at Checkmate Manor'

Date 6th April 2018
Society Bath Unity Players
Venue St Barnabas Church Hall, Bath
Type of Production Farce
Director Tom Jenkins


Author: Dee Way

It is always a pleasure to see one of your plays as they are well chosen to suit the venue. The ‘Farndale Avenue…’ plays are well known for their organised chaos and call for good acting and understanding of farce and comedy. Hence this was a greatly anticipated evening of mayhem.

The play required very good planning and direction, very ably given. The hectic movement followed by long pauses were very effective in creating that necessary sense of a group trying to stage a play that goes horrendously wrong. The use of the chess set on a table down stage right was excellent – it seemed as if it were another member of the cast. The use of slapstick comedy, farce and very good characterisation created a wonderful sense of mayhem, while the timing throughout the show was excellent.

The set was well devised, with a false door, window, bookcase - and an up-side-down back flat with a fireplace near the ceiling! Through the window, a flower-filled courtyard could be glimpsed – as could the characters running from side to side as they changed their entrances. The window also provided a convenient place to discard items – and people – when they should leave the stage.

Lighting was good, given the limited lamps available. Sound was good, too, with the tune of a well-known TV detective series used as the atmospheric entre-act music. Make up and costume were very well done, with numerous wigs and costumes allowing the seven cast members to play all 16 characters. The riding outfit for Patricia Bishop was incredible, as were the costumes and wheelchair for the two aged aunts and the French maid.  The use of wigs to identify the various characters was a very good idea!

Overall this was a wonderful production of organised chaos, very well acted and produced – and thoroughly enjoyed by the audience.  Congratulations!