Reuniting for some deadly laughs
Reunion for Murder
Swan Theatre Amateur Company
Swan Theatre, Worcester
is an essential part of the Christmas calendar at the Swan. For the last
eight years, she has written and directed a murder mystery for the
studio, and patrons are invited to foregather and make a mental note of
the clutter of clues that are scattered before them in the first half.
During the interval,
they are fortified by a very acceptable Christmas repast – with mince
pies, cheese and biscuits to follow, all washed down with a glass of
wine – and complete the obligatory slip of paper by writing down the
names of the victim and the murderer, plus the motive, the method and
the murder weapon.
In the second half, while their detective prowess
is being assessed, they watch the plot unwind and after the final bows
they discover who has been the unsuspected Sherlock in their midst. The
reward for a lady in the front row on the first night this year was a
chocolate Scotty dog wrapped in gold tinfoil. It is all ever so cosy and
The play, on the other hand, is anything but. The
setting is the reunion of a group of people in a holiday bungalow that
is threatening to fall off the edge of a cliff on the Norfolk coast.
Twenty years ago, they had been students together – but now they are
spitting invective as if there's no tomorrow.
One of them is labelled a spiteful bitch. Another
is described as being as irascible as ever. It is the bitch – Annabel,
played by Helen Lammas – who unwaveringly catches the eye and the ear.
She is a shopaholic airhead, utterly self-centred and hopeful of pushing
a television career; talking in an unabated whine and utterly unaware of
the spectacle she is making of herself – except that actress Helen does
seem a little anxious about her dress with the big spots and the
But this is the role that brings the laughs that
lighten the plot. Deadly serious self-importance linked to a failure to
understand any given situation. It is carried off very well, while the
others in the party are united in dismay – never expressed more clearly
or forcefully than by Suzie (Gina Hastings).
It's fun, and the audience, though
engrossed, has no inhibitions about joining in. One member of the
first-night CID advanced the theory that the murderer was the off-stage
dog we had heard from time to time. Well, you never know: it was worth a
punt as part of what is a happy tradition. To 11-12-10.