Murder, cream tea and a ploughman’s with the Regis Players

The Regis Players will once again be testing your sleuthing skills with a murder mystery entertainment at Felpham Village Hall.

Sudden Death at Thornbury Manor by Chris Lewis and Carol Hutton will be directed by newcomer Jenny Dean on Friday, July 31 and Saturday, August 1 at 7.15pm for 7.30pm and on Sunday, August 2 at 2.30pm for 2.45pm. Tickets at £10 include a ploughman’s supper for the evening performances and a cream tea for the Sunday matinee – all part of getting those little grey cells working.

Peter and Jenny

Peter and Jenny

Jenny, who moved to Bognor Regis six months ago, made her debut with the company as an actor in The Cemetery Club. Now she directs the company for the first time: “I moved from Luton. I used to do drama there, and I immediately started looking for a group. I did The Cemetery Club, and then (company co-founder) Peter (Green) asked me if I would direct. I have not really done any adult directing before – though I did run a GCSE group for adults. I just thought I would give it a go.

“I have done a lot of improvisation with them. I think that’s the way to get into things. And I interrupt quite a lot! I don’t tend to take many notes. But when you are directing, what I like is the way you start from nothing and then it all comes together as a whole. It’s just flat on the page, and then it comes alive.”

With the latest show, Jenny will be dealing with a couple of levels of reality. Jenny is encouraging her actors to play actors who are playing in a radio play: “The actors present a murder mystery in which the audience have to decide who the murderer is. The play is set in a BBC radio studio, and the characters come up to the mic and read their scripts rather than act them…

“Caroline and Richard Maltravers are in their 40s, and it’s a bit of a rocky relationship. The husband is quite domineering. Caroline’s mother dies, and she inherits some money. From that moment on, different people are after the money, but also Richard has quite a lot of enemies. Richard is trying to get the money, and there are other characters within the play that are either looking to get hold of the money or to get their revenge on Richard…

“We do the whole thing in about an hour, and then we have the meal, and within that time, the tables can discuss it. The actors come around to each table and can be interrogated. The only one that can lie is the murderer!”

But just so people can’t find out who the murderer is on the first night and then return with the knowledge, the whole thing is set up so there will be a different murderer for each performance.

“The whole thing is set in the 1950s so there is a very formal BBC newscaster at the beginning who sets the scene. It is set at that time, and that’s important. There are various clues in terms of what happened during the war.

“It’s really important that whatever they are playing as actors does not detract from the radio play that is taking place. That’s my main concern at the moment. The number-one priority is that the audience establishes the play that runs within it. The extra dimension (of actors playing actors) will add to the interest!” Tickets: 01243 262414; Felpham Post Office; www.wegottickets.com/theregisplayers.

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