Once again the audience was treated to a medley of tunes of the era as they took their seats for this, the last in the Murder in the Park Series for 2015.  This time it was the hits of 1963, the year when this play by Robert Bloomfield was set (and first performed).  It was not long before the ladies in the stalls were jigging around in their seats and hand-jiving to the music!  In fact, music played an important part in this production – being used for great dramatic effect to create moments of tension and suspense so it was little surprise to learn that it was the music written by Krzysztof Komeda for the 1968 psychological horror film Rosemary’s Baby and nominated at the time for a Golden Globe for the Best Original Score.

The curtain rose to show a set befitting the home of rich and successful author, Paula Barlow (played by Michelle Morris).  This is a play dependent on the performance of its leading character, and Michelle does not disappoint, mastering the art of being two characters in one: the nasty and dominant Cruella Deville-like Paula before the mysterious house fire that almost killed her and the bewildered and gentle Paula who returns home from hospital a year later.  Reconstructed physically, but without any memory, Paula finds herself caught up in a web of tension, lies and deceit.  As she struggles to regain her memory, her forgotten past returns to confront and disturb her, culminating in the play’s shocking and dramatic climax!

Not really knowing what to expect from a play unfamiliar to most, it was a slightly shell-shocked group of Friends who gathered in the bar to welcome the six-strong cast but with so many familiar faces among them and hugs and kisses all round, any tension was soon dissipated.

Front (l-r): John Hester, Michelle Morris, Geoff Gilder (Designer) Behind: Polly Smith, Patric Kearns, Marcus Hutton, Keiron Crook, Erin Geraghty

Front (l-r): John Hester, Michelle Morris, Geoff Gilder (Designer)
Behind: Polly Smith, Patric Kearns, Marcus Hutton, Keiron Crook, Erin Geraghty

Again, a lively evening with this really friendly cast, all familiar with the Eastbourne theatres,  chatting so willingly and posing for photographs with the assembled Friends.

 

Erin Geraghty

Having welcomed Patric Kearns, the Artistic Director of Talking Scarlet, and his actors over the last four weeks, it is sad to think that we have to wait until the end of September before we meet them again.  As John Hester told the audience during the curtain call, they will be returning with Joe Orten’s What the Butler Saw, when we will also be treated to Patric himself treading the boards!