Plenty of clues to an expected winning show at Grantham’s Guildhall

A scene from rehearsals for St peter's Hill Players production of The Unexpected Guest
A scene from rehearsals for St peter's Hill Players production of The Unexpected Guest
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The perennial appeal of Agatha Christie should ensure packed audiences for the latest production by Grantham’s St Peter’s Hill Players.

The versatile group will perform The Unexpected Guest at The Guildhall Arts Centre theatre from Thursday to Saturday, November 13 to 15.

The play, first performed in 1958, is a classic Christie ‘who dunnit’ and should keep the audience guessing to the end.

But according to director Lucy Kelley, the genre requires the performers to say sharply focused if the production is to be a success.

She said: “The sets are very detailed and I have stuck with the late 1950s setting, so one of the challenges has been to find props which are correct for the scenes.

“Some of these are important, because if the script requires a character to wipe fingerprints from a lamp, for example, the cast must make sure this happens, or a vital clue could be lost from the plot.

“We like to present as wide a range of shows as possible, and we hope this will sit well between our last production in the spring, Toad of Toad Hall, and the next one, Terry Pratchett’s Monstrous Regiment, in May.

“Agatha Christie is always popular, because the audience loves to get involved by trying to figure out the ending.”

The Unexpected Guest featuires Gary Cadwallader in the title role and Suzanne Webb as Laura Warwick, the wife of the deceased.

These two characters figure in the opening scene, when Michael Starkwedder (Cadwallader) enters the home of the Warwicks through a window and finds the body and Laura Warwick holding a gun.

Lucy revealed that in her role as director she attempted to keep the cast on their toes by holding back the last page of the script, where the identity of the killer is finally revealed.

She said: “Unfortunately it turned out most of them already knew, but it was a good theory, and two of them were kept in the dark, so it was worth a try.

“Unless you’ve seen the play before you’ll have to go along to the Guildhall theatre to find out ‘who dunnit.’

Tickets are available from the box office.