I’ve often said that the stage at Barnby Memorial Hall could be found in a Miss Marple setting. There’s something about the decoration above it that’s very Agatha Christie.
The surrounding area of Blyth itself, with its pretty cottages and green, helps to create that distinctive Christie atmosphere as you approach the hall.
It was just right then, that Blyth Players should choose the play A Murder is Announced for their May production this year.
As we waited for the play to begin, the Miss Marple theme tune from the television series played to get us in the mood and the curtain rose to reveal a sitting room carefully filled with cottage furniture, lace and ornaments.
Of course, as the plot began with an announcement in the paper of a murder at the address of the house concerned, where no murder had taken place, it wasn’t long before there was one. Directors Sharon Hughes and Jeanette Adams were kept busy as they both appeared in the play too, which had a cast of twelve.
Carole Tomlinson played the indomitable Miss Marple with a gentle touch. She confessed this was “quite a challenge” but rose to it well. I wonder could there be more appearances in this role for her? Malcolm Pike and Vince Hines were the policemen set with the web of intrigue to untangle. The rest of the cast included Angela Williams, Judith Earle, Paula Dickinson, George Earle, Katie Wilson, Jak Allison and Alan Pursehouse.
Acting highlights were Paula Dickinson’s portrayal of Bunny, Miss Blacklock’s companion and Jeanette Adams’ Mitzi the maid, who had a dubious Eastern European accent.
I loved the attention to detail with costumes and the inclusion of a competition for members of the audience to guess the culprit was a nice touch too.
Dianne Bower, Pouja Sachdev and Roger Marsden were the lucky winners of the competition over the three nights. They certainly beat me!
by Wendy Fidoe