A classic “who-dunnit”, this murder mystery farce by Charles Dyer, is an excellent end to Castle Hill Players highly successful 2017 season. It is set in some unspecified time in the past in the recently deceased Mr Barraclough’s gloomy mansion on the day of his funeral. Amongst the stormy weather in this isolated spot a cast of suspicious characters are assembled for the reading of his will. Two solicitors, Mr Blundell, played by Ben Freeman and Mr Mickleby, played by Jono Burt arrive, but are initially mistaken as undertakers and so the laughter begins. Their spot on timing and clever slapstick routines continue throughout the play.
Gathered at the house are the highly unpleasant stepdaughter Faith Barraclough, expertly played by Leigh Scanlon, Mabel the maid played with ingenious innocence by Holky Bramble, Agnes the hapless and worried cook portrayed by Anthea Brown, Anne Beale the secretary complete with seductive outfit and gorgeous hairdo, played most convincingly by Samantha Camilleri and Ted Johnson the somewhat threatening and sinister chauffeur, played by Ian Fletcher.
When the will is read, we learn that the bulk of the mostly unlamented deceased Mr Barraclough’s fortune has been split between the servants, much to the fury of Faith. She nastily snarls her intention to contest the will but is soon finding fault with bitter-tasting tea and after proclaiming that she has been poisoned promptly dies. She is replaced as the villainess of the piece by the arrival of her even meaner twin sister Hope also played by Leigh Scanlon who quickly shows she intends to keep ‘her’ fortune by one means or another.
As the body count rises we become further enmeshed in the mystery of disappearing bodies, sliding panels and howls in the stormy night. More suspicious characters arrive in the form of the very creepy undertaker Mr Sorrell played by Phil Lye and the highly eccentric Dr Brown played by Larry Murphy.
As return to town becomes impossible due to rising flood waters the pair of solicitors assumes the role of detectives to solve the mystery of this intriguingly convoluted plot.
A detailed and fascinating set complete with suit of armour, oak chest, moving pictures and secret openings set the atmosphere, enhanced by the highly effective & perfectly timed sound and lighting effects.
Adeptly directed by Dave Went the audience was kept totally enthralled and constantly amused by this very strong production. For a highly entertaining night do go and see WANTED – ONE BODY playing at the Pavilion Theatre, Castle Hill Showground, till Saturday 9th December.
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