Opening the 2019 season for Castle Hill Players is the clever and very funny BLOODY MURDER with more twists and turns in its plot than one would think possible. Written by Ed Sala this apparently typical British murder mystery begins like many others – a group of the usual suspects gather for a soirée at the isolated country estate of the rich Lady Somerset. Sandy Velini shines in the role of this character as she leads the way for her guests in this intriguing mystery that is definitely not what it seems.

The guests are just as one would expect of this genre. There’s the Major, played by Aurel Vasilescu, who served in India and attempts to tell endless boring tales of his exploits, an ageing alcoholic actor Devon Tremaine, played by Larry Murphy, remembering his triumphs in Shakespearean plays, the innocent appearing ingénue Emma Reece, played by Brittany Macchetta, the exotic Countess in red, played by Jodie Klopf, a worthless nephew Charles, played by Ben Freeman, and of course the at first sight, loyal maid Jane, played by Marilyn Parsons. Add to the mix a mysterious Chinese gentleman and all is set for a typical tale to unfold with a series of red herrings and revelations of dark secrets.

As with all such murder mysteries it’s not long till one of the guests dies. However here the plot begins to turn from the normal as Lady Somerset refuses to follow the formula and call the police. Something very odd is happening as the characters begin to break away from their conventional roles. They refuse to play the game – to say more would spoil the plot and its intriguing ending.

The director, Bernard Teuben, ensures the characters use the clichés we find in these murder mysteries to great comedic effect – we have unexpected characters arriving for no sensible reasons, being murdered and hastily disposed of and lots of creaking doors as the well known phrase is uttered by the next victim “Oh, it’s only you” before being dispatched.

Lighting, sound, costumes and an excellent, authentic set evoking an English drawing room of the around 1930s help bring the characters’ world to life and we the audience almost get to be part of it as well.

For a most enjoyable and highly entertaining night BLOODY MURDER from Castle Hill Players [Facebook] is just the thing. Playing at the Pavilion Theatre, Showground Road, Castle Hill, till March 2.