Yardley proves he’s a class act

Murder WeaponThe Broughton Players Preston Playhouse

Saturday, 15th February 2014, 8:00 pm
Murder Weapon: Neil Harwood, Steve Hall, Rachel Binks and Dennis Yardley
Murder Weapon: Neil Harwood, Steve Hall, Rachel Binks and Dennis Yardley

Murder Weapon was written by Brian Clemens, who is noted for his TV work, especially on The Avengers and The Professionals.

For him, this is a relatively new piece, written in 2012 at the grand old age of 80.

Set in the conservatory of Paul and Diane Tulliver, a murder takes place.

On the scene immediately are Diane and her friend, Jessica Bligh, who also happens to be the local Chief Constable.

They are returning from an evening out to find Diane’s husband has been shot dead and ex-convict, Charley Mirren, is standing in front of him holding the gun.

Rachel Binks and Stephen Hall made an intriguing partnership as Jessica, who interrogated the suspect like a true professional, and the Inspector, an arrogant man of the ‘done it all, got the T-shirt type

It appears to be an open and shut case but, through a series of flashbacks and re-enactments, all is not what it seems although Fremont is convinced of Charley’s guilt.

Eventually, Jessica wins Fremont’s respect with her logic and search for the truth while he shows he is willing to change his mind. You could almost see them make their own TV series.

Dennis Yardley was excellent as ex-convict, Charley, with mental health issues.

His gestures, Irish accent and facial expressions were first-rate as he tries to explain his presence at the scene to the police and then to his psychiatrist, Dr Blake (a fine performance by David Birch).

Was the psychiatrist who he said he was or just another red herring in this intriguing murder mystery?

Nick Atkinson played the constable and Neil Harwood and Jenny Miller were Paul and Diane, the happy young couple sitting reading their lines for their next play. They looked innocent enough but did one of them have a secret?

Despite some flaws in the proceedings (would the accused really be questioned at the scene of the crime with the grieving widow present to attack him?), Brian Clemans provided a really good “whodunit”with a gripping storyline.

Director, Marion Yardley, and producer, Wyn Tagg, deserve great credit for creating a strong drama which held the audience’s interest throughout.

Ellen Campbell