Can it really be a year since the last Murder in the Park series? There is no doubt that the word ‘murder’ in the title packs them into the Devonshire Park Theatre and thus it was a pleasingly large first night audience at the theatre on Tuesday for the opening play in this year’s Murder in the Park series from Talking Scarlet.

A Party to Murder, the second play from the successful writing duo of Marcia Kash and Douglas Hughes was premiered in Ontario, Canada in 1996 and, as far as whodunits go, it is a good one with more than a passing nod to the queen of this genre, Agatha Christie!  One cannot ignore the parallels with And Then There Were None: six people gathered at a cottage on an island in the middle of a lake and no communication with the outside world. But there the similarity stops and the plot has many unexpected twists and turns before its superb climax.  With moments of pure horror, then elements of humour – this play has it all with guns, exploding lights, bodies in cupboards, secret passageways and superb acting from the six-strong cast.

Front (l-r): Oliver Mellor, John Hester Behind: Ben Roddy, Michelle Morris, Polly Smith, Natasha Gray

Front (l-r): Oliver Mellor, John Hester
Behind: Ben Roddy, Michelle Morris, Polly Smith, Natasha Gray

It is always such a pleasure to welcome the cast and company of a Talking Scarlet production to the bar following a first night and this was certainly no exception.  The bar was packed – including no less than three generations of the Jordan family (Natasha being one of the cast).  The chat – not to mention autograph hunting – went on for a long time.

Thank you Patric for treating us to such an entertaining evening and we look forward to next week’s offering with eager anticipation.  Thanks too to the actors – old friends one and all – who were off home to learn their lines for the next production!    We look forward to welcoming you back – if not next week, later in the month.