Murder in Play

Date 31st August 2018
Society Washington Theatre Group
Venue Washington Arts Centre
Type of Production Play
Director Rachel Neill


Author: Foster Johnson

Simon Brett’s  Black Comedy/ Whodunit was  a breath of fresh air when brought to life in Washington Theatre Group’s latest offering.  It was a play within a play and centred on a struggling repertory company of failing and has been actors, reliving their past successes in the hope of resurrecting their careers, and bright young starlets, reaching for the top.

When the Company decides to stage “Murder at Priorswell Manor” all hell breaks out as the cast are only interested in their own self importance much to the detriment of the show. As a consequence and with the Director more interested in the pursuit of securing  liaisons with female cast members and a career in the USA rehearsals become chaotic, tempers sharpen and mayhem erupts. As a result fiction becomes reality when Director Boris Smolensky’s wife Renee is murdered on stage.

The  excellent script  which detailed the politics of show business and the workings of an inept company of actors was cleverly highlighted by the cast and is something that we all may have well come across in the world of amateur theatre. They were all there to see.  John Cairns played the role of the overbearing Director Smolensky well to show  just the right amount of the Director’s aggressiveness which  covered  his own ineptitude, and scheming ways. Pamela Elliott, whom it was nice to see on stage again, portrayed the fast fading star Renee Savage well with a a streak of nastiness  as to show why anyone of her fellow cast members could happily murder her. Peter Wilson was  cast in the role of Tim Fermor the jobbing actor and Equity representative who covers up his limited acting ability by constantly quoting the rules regarding lunch and tea breaks and his  interpretation of the role was nice to witness. John Seymour was cast in the role of Harrison Bracewell a fading Shakespearean actor who is fonder of the bottle and quoting his experiences with  Ralph Richardson et al than learning his lines and he again delivered another fine cameo role. Angela  Marshall  played the naive and star struck hopeful Ginette Vincent completely in character ,whilst Christa D’Amato  the fading soap star who forever reminds everyone of her former television career was excellently interpreted by Ingrid Middleton. Joanne McLeron as the solid and very astute  Sophie Lawton an actress of no little talent who is forced into the roles of maids etc was  admirable  Last but by no means least Angela Chard gave a sterling performance as the put upon stage manager and dogsbody Pat.