Whitechapel Village Hall was the scene of the some dastardly crimes!
There were plenty of prime suspects when members of the All Saints Village Hall Committee were being bumped off one after another with all the rapidity of a laugh-a-minute farce.
Jenny File’s direction was a triumph, as some of the best lines in detective farcical comedy were spoken by her husband, Gordon, whose portrayal of the hilariously incompetent Inspector Twigg was an astonishingly effective mix of real and feigned confusion.
The inspector was out-witted by Hilary Parkinson’s wonderfully understated Agatha, whose Scottish accent was a convincing device, separating her from the bemused and accused committee members and enabling her to keep a straight face while all about her were losing theirs.
The Queen Mother version of Eleanor, the chair of the committee, was played by Pam Fishlock, who maintained a stranglehold on village affairs, but was by no means above suspicion .
The vicar, played by Simon Haley, made a particularly hilarious entrance as he dashed panting onto the stage, distraught at the possibility that he was too late for the life art class. And with the lovely Lydia Hornby as Mandy the life model, it was easy to see why he was so keen to get to the church (hall) on time.
Julie Cowell played a man and a woman, twin siblings Oliver and Olivia, and managed constant switch of voice, posture and costume with professional aplomb.
Harry the caretaker (Peter Western), Agatha’s sister-in-law Alice (Jane Hill), Maisie, the cleaner (Amanda Kaye-Dunn), PC Lockett (Peter O’Reilly) pub landlady Isabella (Chris O’Reilly) were a delightful supporting cast, all with very individual brands of comic character and stage presence. Phil Cowell had an important cameo role – as the stabbed corpse. He was line-perfect.
Add to this the phenomenal efforts of the “unseen Players” and this was vintage Whitechapel Players in all their comic genius.