Secondary Cause of Death

Date 11th February 2022
Society Hartley Arts Group
Venue Victoria Hall, Hartley Wintney
Type of Production Play
Director Alan Birdsworth


Author: Kay Rowan

Secondary Cause of Death – This sequel to Murdered to Death by Peter Gordon brings real humour to the activities at the now exclusive hotel, Bagshot House. Balls and laughter have given way to mysterious happenings all under the watchful eye of Inspector Pratt who, with his investigative ways creates a flurry of antics and subsequent nightmare.

The colourful programme was very well designed and  contained a wealth  of information with background to the society, the show, the cast (both pen pictures and photographs), and much more besides.

The box set was very well designed with three entrances.  The furniture was reflective of the 1930s although it could have benefitted from a carpet to both deaden the footsteps and reflect references in the script.  The lamps and ornaments were well chosen.  The sideboard held the various glasses and decanters that were required.  The overall effect of the extremely well-painted set was most pleasing to the eye and the creativity required for losing bodies was indeed superb.  The lighting was very effectively managed with some really good focus effect for certain scenes.  The sound was clear and precise. The costumes were tremendous – so appropriate and in tune with the period.  Hair and makeup suitably rounded off the whole picture.

Each member of the cast performed their roles well.  The Colonel, played by Kevin Cluett was suitably vague whilst maintaining a proprietorial role.  Kevin slipped very easily between the role of the colonel and that of the flamboyant thespian character, Cardew Longfellow whilst maintaining their totally different persona. Zoe Cole performed the role of Lady Isadora Pollock with casual elegance and bearing in contrast to the Captain Woolmer Cardington who was played in a ‘jolly hockey stick‘ style by Margaret Wales.  Richard Clifford maintained the accent of the Count Puchlik extremely well and even amended the accent for the German scenes.  Well done to a relative newcomer to amdram.  Inspector Pratt was played in the usual bumbling style by Jason Kewley who obviously revelled in the role and embellished the action where possible.  Due to the  indisposition of the rehearsed cast member, the character of Cynthia Maple was superbly played by Amanda Remington.  She looked and acted the part whilst keeping pace going - quite a commanding presence with or without the book.  The various supporting roles, many of whom unfortunately had to die, were extremely well acted each with their own personality.  This was a very rounded and talented cast.

HAG are to be congratulated on this production.  The results of many hours of rehearsal under difficult conditions and uncertain future.  They are a very talented group and the willingness to step into any role is most praiseworthy.

The audience thoroughly appreciated the pathos, humour, timing and all the other aspects of an efficiently crafted production.  Congratulations to all involved. 


Kay Rowan

South East Regional Councillor ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌