Murder Weekend

Clarendon Players

Royal Wootton Bassett Memorial Hall

GUESTS arrive at a small hotel for an entertaining Murder Weekend in which each is allocated a character to discern clues in a devised crime scene. Is the disappearance of young staff member Shelley, (Deanna Aspell) part of the plot, or is something more sinister afoot?

The Clarendon Players' large cast, directed by Paula Clifford and Emma Davis last week, offered an appealing measure of comedy in this play by Bettine Manktelow. The action was enlivened by the outstanding performances of Karen Smith (Dorothy) and Wendy Mitchell (Vi), an odd couple of nursing home proprietors geared up for a thrilling weekend jaunt . Their frenetic determination to detect a crime and its perpetrator was hilarious. Alec Smith, initially looking like a benign Sherlock Holmes, had far shadier motives, and with a succession of intermingled real and foreseen events, the kindly hotelier Mrs Johnson, (Doreen Hewer) became increasingly distracted.

Two couples - Livia and Stanley, played by Fiona Jacobs and Neil Strange, and Patsy and Ashley (Victoria Maskell and Ben Hart) - had personal pasts to unravel, as plans for the Murder Weekend disintegrated.

Diana Chew and Nichola Lamkin completed the cast. Some less experienced actors could benefit by improving voice projection, so no significant line is lost and the impetus of the drama is maintained.

The set, lobby of the Crossways Hotel, and the auditorium's use for some entrances and exits, was effective in suggesting a spacious garden beyond.

Stella Taylor