Murder and mystery!

Review by Adele Clay

HECKINGTON Players entered the world of murder mystery with their latest production, Prepare to Meet Thy Tomb. The play is a macabre but often very funny spoof of the haunted house genre centred on the exploits of the Tomb family, a deadly bunch of eccentric assassins, and their house guests who were not all that they seemed.

Drusilla Tomb, played by Mel Priestley, is in the process of turning the Tomb’s ancestral home into an Alternative Health Farm, much to the disgust of her Aunt Hecuba (Jo Marriott) whose performance was an excellent balance of comic timing and creepy malevolence.

First to arrive was Sir Beverly Comstock a gruff businessman. Simon Needham turned in an accomplished performance, complemented perfectly by Pete Gannan as jittery PA Anthony Strickland although a little rushed at times. Niki Kirk as writer Phillipa Collins had great presence and played her character with bossy gusto. Helen Gordon as her timid editor Daphne Summers provided good contrast. Christian Slingsby was wonderfully camp and flamboyant as TV star Quentin Danesworth. Oliver Guilliatt and Cheryl Jenkins as twee honeymooners Robert and Miranda were both excellent and the ensemble was completed by Kate Sidney as the vampy family solicitor. Her hilarious death stole the show.

Directors Kei Bailey and Stephanie Leighton brought out the best in their cast. The detailed set, with hidden passageway, was inspired.

The twists and turns required a few prompts, but did not detract from the overall performance.