Little Baddow Drama at the Memorial Hall
Murder Mystery Evenings are everywhere these days: on trains, in hotels, at stately homes …
Not surprisingly, Little Baddow's first foray into this popular genre is a cut above the usual cardboard Christie/Cluedo offering. Brian J Burton's play, while not Priestley, or even Francis Durbridge, does have some clever twists in its fifty minutes, and it is performed, without a hint of tongue-in-cheek irony, by an accomplished cast, directed by Lindsay Lloyd.
Caroline Ogden is superb as the cool, calculating wife, who, she confesses up-front, has done away with her husband, on the sofa, with a hat-pin. Supper guests John Peregrine and Vicky Tropman, not without murder motives themselves, become cleverly manipulated accessories after the fact. Ken Rolf is the Cornish bookseller; his sole contribution before the interval an "old-fashioned look" directed at his scheming spouse …
Discussion ensues over the canapés, the audience tables encouraged to provide their own resolution to the plot – Friday night's suggestions included Max Clifford, Fifty Shades and sapphism, though not all at once.
The swift dénouement – everything wrapped up in five minutes – is skilfully handled; while every member of the capacity audience had differing views on the motives and morals of the characters, we all agreed that this format [murder mystery in the round with food and drink] was a welcome addition to Little Baddow's repertoire.