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Gunshots ring out at Grantham am-dram comedy 'whodunnit'



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Gunshots rang out at the Guildhall theatre in three performances of the play 'Death by 'Design' by St Peter's Hill Players.

The comedy murder mystery, penned by Rob Urbinati, was staged on Thursday and Friday night, with a matinee performance on Saturday.

Set in 1932, the action takes place in the living room of the Bennetts' country manor in the Thames-side village of Cookham, opening with the introduction of their chauffeur Jack, played by Andy Antony, and maid Bridget (Victoria Aves).

'Death by Design' cast members, from left - Nate McAlpine, Andy Antony, Briony Sparrow, Jacqueline Dowse, Gary Cadwallader, Victoria Aves, Tony Hine and Rachel Armitage. (52371310)
'Death by Design' cast members, from left - Nate McAlpine, Andy Antony, Briony Sparrow, Jacqueline Dowse, Gary Cadwallader, Victoria Aves, Tony Hine and Rachel Armitage. (52371310)

Playwright Edward and air-headed actress Sorel Bennett, played by Gary Cadwallader and Jacqueline Dowse, have their weekend interrupted by a gathering of quirky, mostly uninvited guests, one of whom – politician Walter Pearce (Tony Hine) – appears to have been murdered at the end of act one.

The whole assembled household are each considered suspects, with each and every one seeming to have a motive.

Other suspects are political radical Eric, played by Nate McAlpine, short-sighted gun-toting Alice (Rachel Armitage) and the delightfully eccentric Bohemian Victoria Van Roth, played by Briony Sparrow who absolutely stole the show with her energetic performance.

Meanwhile, the Bennetts' maid and amateur sleuth Bridget takes on the task of finding out whodunnit . . .

The audiences at the three performances were treated to a wonderful mash-up of an Agatha Christie-style murder mystery set in a country house, and a Noel Coward-type comedy, and were hugely appreciative of the entertainment provided.

The play was directed by Rosemary Gibson and Lesley Sparrow, and produced by Tony Hine.

Stage manager was Gus Sparrow, assisted by Jim Snee and Hanuel Kwon, and costumes were by Rosemary Gibson, Lesley Sparrow, Gary Cadwallader and cast members.

Set, furniture and props, prompt, sound, lighting, hair and make-up, and marketing duties can never be forgotten for their vital contributions, and of course front of house helpers Lucy Kelley, Lynette Richardson, Tony Jackson, Sharon Antony, Gillie Vincent, Jim Snee and Rosemary Gibson.



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