A REMOTE Italian villa is the 1980 summer holiday retreat of Brian (Nicholas Gratton) and Jennifer (Nicky Ashdown) in a bid to revive their faltering relationship.

They have scarcely settled in before being surprised by David (Colin Wilkins) and Corinne (Marlene Poole) who claim to have booked the property for a fortnight.

Matters are complicated by the arrival of Franco (Mark Harris), whose car has two punctures. 

There is no phone, and apparently dastardly doings are afoot.

However, things are not at all as they seem, and the audience suddenly realises that these events are merely part of a play, being rehearsed by professional actors for a single performance promoted by an unknown impresario.

Or is he unknown? Why were these particular actors assembled?

Charlotte Phillips, as Pamela, completes the cast of an increasingly intriguing puzzle, as the convoluted plot unwinds to its startling finale.

Dennis Breakspear directs the excellent cast; lighting is by David Jell and stage manager is Sandra Gilbert. Crisp decor of the uncluttered set, with wide central patio windows, enhances an entertaining production.

Dead Man's Hand, by Seymour Matthews, runs until Saturday, September 29; nightly at 7.30pm.