Red herrings, dairy-free cakes, hoax phone calls and a fascinating mystery

Prescription For Murder 
by Norman Robbins, 
Wivelsfield Little Theatre

Wivelsfield Little Theatre’s actors were treading the boards once again – this time in Norman Robbins’ Prescription for Murder, with Nan Crofton as director.

It may have been her first with Wivelsfield, but as an accomplished director elsewhere, she bought to life the characters and intrigues written by Robbins.

The play is set in the sleepy West Country town of Bere Knighton. The time is the present day and the action takes place in a very well appointed sitting room. The three-piece suite was even offered for sale at the end of the run!

As ever, the onstage actors were supported by a myriad of backstage crew.

Centred around the unexplained recurrent illness of Doctor Richard Forth’s second wife, Barbara, there is speculation by friends, heightened by the arrival of a stranger, as to the cause.

The characters were all very well portrayed. Dorothy, played by Pearl White, held her Devonian accent throughout, and was very caring towards her employer. She was very amusing when arguing with the stuck-up Julia, played well by Amy Kelly, who obviously thought herself a better candidate for the position of ‘Doctor’s Wife’, a feeling we got was echoed by the doctor himself...

The friends, Mary and Alan, played by Elizabeth Burton and Bill Colbourne, lent a lightness to the piece, as Alan was a hen-pecked husband with a passion for bowls who was often not allowed to finish his sentences.

The enigmatic stranger, played by Michael Towner, had a pivotal role in the dénouement. Gerald Fleuss played the country Doctor convincingly and Susie Beer as Barbara Forth was excellent throughout.

There were red herrings all over the place: hoax phone calls, dairy-free cakes, special milk...and the first half ended with what can only be described as a ‘dangerous’ pot of tea. The remark, from one of the characters, that the village was becoming more like Midsomer will give you a clue that the play was well named.

Who was the intended victim? Fingers were pointing in all directions. Who dunnit? Well, that would be telling!