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Murder with Ghosts

Date

28th May 2015

Society

Walberton Players

Venue

Walberton Village Hall

Type of Production

Play

Director

David Fido

Report

Author: Jose Harrison

This exceedingly clever Farce, a world premier by well known author Simon Brett, is the story of Lady Constance Cholmondley superbly played by Jeanette Fido, who is exceedingly wealthy and has plans to leave her fortune to her nephew. This is no ordinary Murder Mystery as, from the very start, we know the identity of the intended victim and the main perpetrator of the proposed murder. Everything about this production had a touch of professionalism from the opening with the most beautifully arranged fixed set of a library in a Manor House with book lined walls, appropriate chairs, antique clock, and a superb life size statue of the Goddess Diana which actually fired arrows from its bow. The time was the 1930s which was confirmed by the appropriate costumes, hair styles, accents and postures of the cast.  Lady Constance is convinced that someone is trying to end her life and has invited a motley crew of guests for the week-end consisting of her niece and nephew, a count, her solicitor, an amateur sleuth and a psychic.  Very soon it becomes apparent that the guests and the staff are more likely to be the ones to end up dead, owing to a series of accidents, but, unlike other murder plays, these are not small parts as they return immediately as modern day ghosts with up to date ideas and vocabulary. Jason Evans (the amateur sleuth) seemed a little nervous for the first ten minutes and then relaxed into his part.  He was the first to die and therefore was responsible for getting the message across to the audience that he was back in spirit form only. Everyone coped brilliantly acting as if he wasn’t there and showing no reaction when he spoke.  The same applied as more ghosts were added to the scenes and the change of use of words added spice to the show. Peter Allday ( the nephew) and Justine Potter ( the Niece) were both very over the top upper crust but she in particular became a very different person in Act Two!!!  Andy Bumfrey (the Count) was superb with his German accent, his mannerisms and his dramatic outfit, which was all fake.  He was actually from Scotland which he made very obvious by his change of accent. Emily Dadson (the psychic) was equally excellent with her outlandish but so appropriate clothes and Italian accent.  Her séance scene was a show stopper. Christopher Doman (the nosey Solicitor) had a crooked streak which was cleverly depicted by his deportment, mannerisms and especially his entrances onto the stage.  Bill Adams (the butler) was obviously suffering from nerves at the start as he needed a few prompts but settled into the role well showing two very different characteristics. Lizzie Gibson (the housemaid)  was sublime from start to finish. Her performance was a gem.  The dog was very cleverly included in the whole play with Mary Kendrick sitting on side stage barking and reacting to everything whilst the stuffed toy dog was nursed and fussed over.  My whole hearted congratulations to both Simon Brett for a great script and to Davis Fido for a hugely amusing production.