Murder At Play

Date 23rd May 2014
Society Westovian Theatre Society
Venue Pier Pavillion, South Shields
Type of Production Play
Director Jim Barton


Author: Foster Johnson

Under the clever direction of Jim Barton, the experienced and talented cast of the Westovian Theatre Society portrayed, in Simon Brett’s farce ‘ Murder at Play’, every kind of character and personality we have come to believe tread the boards in local repertory theatre.  The theme of the play centres around the trials and tribulations of a struggling repertory theatre company attempting to stage a murder mystery play filled with intrigue and suspense.  It is doomed to failure, however, as the actors seemed to be more interested in their own egos and life’s problems than the play itself. 

The show’s pace was good throughout, and the cast were without fault.  Carol Cooke (Lady Cholmondley) shone in the role of the fading diva (and victim),  Craig Richardson (Rodney Pirbright) once again demonstrated his excellent comedic ability and, as the upper crust leading man and the cast’s shop steward, not only made the transition between his various characters with ease, but maintained the different accents that each of them had. 

Mark Lamb as the Company Director and resident lothario, Smolensky, was again at his finest showing a good understanding of the many sided characteristics of a Company Director.  Danielle Miller (Mrs Puttock) was exceptional in the double role of the show’s housekeeper and one time soap opera star now forced into repertory theatre and continually living in the past, and moved with ease from one character to another. 

They were well supported by the rest of the principal cast with John Errington (Papadopoulos), a once famous actor down on his luck and living on his past memories, Rachael Walsh (Virginia) and Gemma Crossley (Triggs) the young want-to-be stars and Jessica Ingoe (Pat) the put-upon Stage Manager and dogsbody, who all made an excellent contribution to the show. 

The set design was simple but apt and the lighting and sound also added to the atmosphere of the show.