MURDERED TO DEATH – Tea Tree Players

MURDERED TO DEATH – Tea Tree Players

Reviewed by Laraine Ball

April 2011

This very funny murder mystery by Peter Gordon is a send-up of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, but in this version the cast were not the only ones being Murdered to Death the script itself also suffered quite brutally.
Director Mike Phillips appears to have let the actors have their heads, lines were frequently forgotten, changed or said at the wrong times judging by the looks the cast were giving each other. This was very sad really, because the dialogue that did make an appearance was actually quite entertaining.

Set in a country manor house the owner is expecting visitors for the weekend. These are the standard Christie-type characters, the Colonel and his wife, a French Artist/dealer and a lovely young lady socialite.
Not long after the visitors arrive, the hostess is killed and the fun begins with the entrance of the bumbling Inspector Pratt who must solve the murder with the help of the village busybody, Miss Maple.

Apart from the lines all of the characterisations were pretty spot on with the exception of Bunting the butler played by Terry Boswell. It was far too obvious that this butler was not for real and he had too much business to do in the first scene, which slowed the action right down and wasn’t even funny. Chris Galipo was charming as Mildred the hostess and Cat Castles did a fine job of Dorothy, her niece, a girl with her own agenda.

Don Stuart made the perfect bluff and hearty Colonel Craddock, Maxine Morales was beautifully upper crust as his wife Margaret Craddock and Tallora Di Girolami did the ‘bright young thing’ perfectly as Elizabeth Hartley.

Damon Hill was very plausible as the Artist/dealer Pierre Marceau, and had a lovely French accent; Iris Petit did the typical down to earth busybody thing extremely well as Miss Maple but it was Mark Bone who stole the show with his delightful portrayal of the idiotic Inspector Pratt.

In this he was ably supported by Lewis Baker who was excellent as the pedantic Constable Thompkins.
Phillips’ set design of a Manor house lounge room was very nicely done and had a pretty wall paper effect with furnishings to match,

Jo Allenby and the Monday Ladies did a wonderful job of the costumes.

Apart from several comments wondering what really happened, the audience seemed to enjoy themselves though their reaction was more subdued than is usual at the TTP Theatre. This is marvelous play, such a pity that it was not quite ready.

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