Date 27th April 2018
Society Tettenhall Amateur Players
Venue Linden House Tettenhall Wolverhampton
Type of Production Play
Director Deborah Frost


Author: Jean Beard

Dedicated playgoers will immediately recognise this play by Patrick Hamilton and on which Alfred Hitchcock based his film.

Briefly it tells the story of two Oxford graduates who kill a harmless fellow student just for the adventure and fun of it and, full of confidence, have a party to congratulate themselves on how clever they are. The body is present during the play hidden in a large chest which becomes the table on which the food and drink for the party is served.

This production by TAP was riveting from the opening line to the closing. A very confident Wyndham Brandon (Stuart Messinger) dominated the action and his weak partner in crime Charles Granillo (Greg Asbury) was nervous and full of guilt for his part in the crime and convinced that they would never get away with it. So full of confidence was Brandon that he invited the victim’s father, Sir Johnstone Kentley (Richard Green) and sister Mrs Debenham (Neelam Kumar) to come to look at books he was planning to sell, and friends Leila (Eleanor Frost) and Raglan (Robin Heap) to join a party of celebration before he and Granillo left to drive to the country. Final guest Rupert Cadell (John Frost) a poet, completed the evening. Supper was served by Sabot (Chris Wolverson) general manservant at Mayfair residence of the murderers.

As the evening unfolds Granillo becomes more and more agitated, shaking,  drinking and his demeanour is a sharp contrast to that of Brandon’s coolness and almost defiance, for someone to challenge his high handed opinions. During a terrible thunderstorm and with the other guests having departed, tension builds when Cadell returns, obviously suspicious. Brandon cannot resist boasting about the murder. By this time Granillo is a total wreck and Cadell  finally realises what has been happening. He explains his grasp of the situation and the final scene brings the play to a satisfactory conclusion.

Without doubt this play is among the very best I have seen and certainly it was well cast. Everyone gave a well crafted performance. An excellent set in a small intimate hall which added to the tension that built as the play progressed. Good props, lighting, sound effects and costumes in keeping with the period. Indeed it would be very difficult to find an adverse criticism for this production and many congratulations to everyone both on stage and off. The standard of this play will be very hard for TAP to follow with their next production.