Photos Reviews


March 2018

Anthony Shaffer, who died in 2001, was an adept at manipulating the old stage thriller cliches to produce something new and different. With Whodunnit! we have at the same time a classic country house murder mystery, a satire of the theatre and the whole whodunnit genre, and a chance for actors to get their teeth into some interesting roles. First staged in 1977 as The Case of the Oily Levantine,it was a success both in the West End and on Broadway.


Mrs Nethercott The Cleaning Lady - Maggie Butt

Archibald Perkins The Butler - Alan Caig

Andreas Capodistriou an Oily Levantine - Keith Palmer

Silas Blazeby A Respectable Family Lawyer - Howard Eilbeck

Rear Admiral Knatchbull Folliatt An Old Sea Dog - Rob Hole

Lady Tremurrain A Dotty Aristocrat - Chris Eilbeck

Lavinia Hargreaves A Sweet Young Thing - Becky Davies

Roger Dashwell A Black Sheep - Nigel Mason

Dame Edith Runcible An Eccentric Archaeologist - Suzanne Dunstan

DCI Bowden A Fast-Tracked Detective - Kate Wannell

Sergeant Standish A Solid Copper - Sam King

McTavish The Chef - Cass Thorne

Grumbost The Gardner - John Bradley

Grace The Maid - Marie Watsham

Emily Fox Civilian Police Worker - Michele Evenstar

Production Team:

Director - Mike Edwards

Assistant Director - Marie Watsham

Stage Manager - Janine Warre

Production Manager - Maggie Butt

Set and Publicity Design - Phil Keen

Set Construction - Phil Keen with Maurice Webb

Lighting Design - Peter Tapp

Sound and Lighing operation - Peter Tapp

Props - Janine Warre

Sound - Ron Murray

Special Effects - Angela Wallwork

Front of House - Rosie Munns Sharon Wannell and team

Make up and Hair Design - Clare Philbrock

Wardrobe - Jill Whitehouse with Christine Meredith and Janine Warre


From Ian Potts' view of Whodunnit!:

a witty parody/pastiche of detective fiction

"Whodunnit" by Anthony Shaffer is a witty parody/pastiche of detective fiction, especially of the Agatha Christie type, stuffed full of the expected setting, ( country manor) stereotypical characters ( the Boozy Butler, PC Plod, Dotty Aristocrat, Unconventional Detective etc ) and unexpected plot twists of the genre. The twist in this case involves the audience in part two being asked to solve the murder as the characters are unmasked as actors who have all ( but one ) being lured to the country manor by the murderer.

It is a zombie whammy of a play ( a particular alcoholic beverage much loved by the Butler, who did the murder for once! ), fizzing with theatrical flourishes, verbal ingenuity, some very funny one liners (my favourite being Lady Tremurrain's ËœDiabetes is debilitating enough for me without the additional fatigues of fornication.") and greatly appreciated by a full house on the night. I particularly enjoyed the directorial inventions, like the comic business of the cleaner's deceptive dance at the beginning, the calling out of various vegetable names throughout and the cleaner sweeping off Capodistriou's head at the end of Act 1-a wonderful comic moment. I also liked the idea of the sergeant and a local civilian police officer engaging with the audience during the interval.

The play had good pace and the actors ( who were uniformly good ) obviously enjoyed the over exaggerated style of performance in Act One, which gave way to a more naturalistic style in Act Two. This transition was handled well. They all performed with tremendous energy, good comic timing and were deserving of their enthusiastic reception by the audience. The play was directed with great panache and close attention to the required pace needed to make this play work. The costumes, wigs and moustaches were excellent and really helped the actors create their characters and, more importantly, make the unmasking at the beginning of Act Two more dramatic. The set created the appropriate period and lighting and sound all contributed well to the "thriller" atmosphere in the play.

Following on from the excellent Roses of Eyam, the current performance has set a high bar for the forthcoming production of Much Ado About Nothing in November. I feel sure the Estuary Players will produce another zombie whammy! Well done to everyone.

- Reviewed by: Ian Potts


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