Murdered To Death

Date 19th May 2016
Society Saxilby Drama Circle
Venue Saxilby Village Hall
Type of Production Play
Director Anne Bridge / Pam Burnett and Mark Stoneham
Musical Director none
Choreographer none

Report

Author: David Fisher

This Agatha Christie spoof written by Peter Gordon is set in the lounge of a country house in the 1930s. The basic plot features a gathering of dysfunctional people who are renewing their acquaintances with Mildred. Soon someone is murdered and it is up to the bungling Inspector Pratt to unmask the killer.

As is normal with any production this Society undertakes, the set was of a high standard, the lighting was good, costumes and props excellent and each individual character maintained their performance throughout the entire evening. This was the first night of a three-night run and I did detect a slight first night nerves feeling in the first scene. But the pace picked up as the evening progressed. There were some prompts but as I discussed with the directors at the end, I felt on more than one occasion a prompt was given although the character was merely pausing to build suspense. This very occasionally led to the pace dropping slightly, but not detracting from the overall feeling.

Scott Ward maintained the French accent of his character right to the point of revealing he wasn't French. Ian Atkinson as Inspector Pratt had a very amusing incident obviously carefully rehearsed while on the telephone in Act 2 with the Assistant Chief Constable. This is not a large stage and at times there were eight characters on set, and the direction had meant there was no masking and no straight lines.

The music chosen to accompany the action inbetween scenes I felt fitted perfectly. The mood changes necessary to some of the characters were clearly felt, whereas of course the Inspector - who by his own admission was incompetent - maintained his position in the overall production.

This is not an easy show to stage and the gun, which is an integral part of the plot as was the case here, leads to laughter from the audience when it is fired. I believe a gun is one of the hardest unknown quantities to use on stage.

All in all I feel the audience left having been thoroughly entertained by a society that I derive great pleasure in seeing on a regular basis.