They Call it Murder

Date 31st March 2017
Society Wetherby Musical Theatre Group
Venue Linton Memorial Hall
Type of Production Play
Director Mike Earle
Musical Director -
Choreographer -


Author: Terry Harrison

The late radio scriptwriter/producer Mike Craig had a line: “where there’s a will…..there’s a relative”.  In fact, in this play there are three and, if Chekhov had not used the title first, it might have been called “Three Sisters”.  And there you have the clues to the bulk of the plot, since it’s all about an elderly man and whether his estate will be left to one of his three grand-daughters or be divided between them. There are complications involving a fiancé of 10 years and a male nurse whose care for the old man includes the preparation of the latest version of the will, all leading to some rather tragic consequences.

Following a merger with the local drama group, this Company feel an obligation to tackle a straight play from time to time and a good job they made of it. Most of the cast will be more familiar with musicals and, as the Chairman points out in her programme note, a play is quite a different matter. There are no big chorus numbers which might offer some welcome respite for some of the principals and instead, in comparison with a musical, there are a lot of lines to learn and, in this case, only seven of them to do so. As the old man delivers most of his from his off stage bedroom and later suffers a stroke which deprives him of his speech, it’s really only six!

All the cast coped well with their task and provided good performances, with the sisters in particular exploring their differing characteristics: Enid Doyle as the eldest of the three, the type of person who is perhaps a little neurotic; Sarah Welborn as the youngest who has just won a place at Cambridge and, as the cleverest, thought by the others to be the possible recipient of all grandpa’s money; and Miranda Thew, particularly convincing as the middle one, a happy-go-lucky hedonist type, a nurse at the local hospital from whom it seems no male member of staff was entirely safe. I enjoyed the way Gary Bullock came across as the slightly sinister male nurse, apparently a friend of the family some of the time but eventually turning his suspicion of the cause of the old man’s death to his advantage. Beth Wright made a good job of the neighbourly Mrs. Moore and Simon Burdett gave us a particularly cantankerous Grandpa. Finally, Michael Earle proved a convincing but increasingly frustrated long-term fiancé, at the same time marking his debut as a Director with an accomplished production. Apparently, he took on the latter role after the vacancy arose somewhat unexpectedly but he will no doubt find himself being asked again.

The Group is immediately moving on to its next production “Return to the Forbidden Planet” and, in wishing them every success, I thank them for an excellent evening here.