House Guest, Wivelsfield Little Theatre, Wivelsfield Village Hall, November 16-18
Fans of ‘whodunnits’ were not disappointed by Wivelsfield Little Theatre’s production of House Guest, a thriller by Francis Durbridge.
Joint producers Penelope Bennett and Christine Elwell-Sutton steered the cast successfully through the twists and turns of a convoluted plot containing all the essential ingredients of murder, intrigue and misleading characters who were not always who they appeared to be.
Set in the home of film stars Stella and Robert Drury, played by a convincingly distraught Anne Woodbridge and a concerned, but bemused Mike Towner, the plot centred around the kidnap of their only son, Mike, and the sequence of events that followed.
Claiming to be a journalist, Vivien Norwood, a quite sinister Nellie Carey, was given a tour of the house and, soon after, an equally sinister Major Crozier arrived (Alex Orchin).
Having assured them that their son was safe, his only request was that he should be allowed the stay in their home for 48 hours...and then Mike would be returned.
Keeping the truth from their secretary Jane Mercer, a suitably efficient Emily Whiteman, the couple reluctantly agreed to the unusual request, only to have their nerves shattered by the unexpected arrival of two policemen, Inspector Burford and Sergeant Clayton. Very strong and assured performances from both gentlemen, David Tettersell and Kevin Kelly.
Some light relief to the ensuing drama was provided by Pearl White, whose comedic skills and timing brought a convincing cousin Dorothy to life. She looked after the couple’s country cottage, where, it was claimed that a vanishing body had been found.
A new character Philip Henderson, a double for Robert, played by Erik Newtom (aka Mike Towner), came on the scene, and, for a second time, the couple were asked to allow a stranger to stay for 48 hours.
As the plot unravelled, it became clear what was happening.
Each actor played their character with conviction, and there was some good ensemble work too. A good pace ensured that the audience was kept in suspense as well.
The excellent set was designed by Mike Sewell and David Gibbs, and constructed by them with help from the WLT team.
The costumes, hair and make-up were by Suzanne Bevan.
The props team, Sue Welch and Jill Wells, and stage manager Sarah Baldock and the welcoming front-of-house team all played their part in making am-dram at Wivelsfield a very enjoyable experience once again.
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