Charity No: 260045




Once again, Pateley Bridge Dramatic Society demonstrated that whatever 
the dramatic genre, they come up with a performance of the very 
highest standard.


Their latest offering, ANYBODY FOR MURDER? a comedy/thriller by
 Avengers writer Brian Clemens and Dennis Spooner, has a fiendishly 
convoluted storyline. 
Despite only six characters in the cast, there are twists and turns every
couple of pages, so the director and cast need to take the audience
 with them on the complex journey of plot and counter-plot. 
Thanks to Christine Ward's skilled direction and a perfectly matched cast, 
this was achieved superbly.
Within a single room – a converted farmhouse on a small Greek island, 
magnificently realised in a multi-level set by the Playhouse backstage 
team – the action revolved around Max's plans to bump of wife Janet and 
make off with her insurance and girlfriend Suzy. 
Just when the plan is set in motion, distant relatives George and Mary arrive 
with news that Janet is heir to millions - and they also mistake 
Suzy for Janet!
Max has to revise his plan: he now means to drug Janet, dye her hair to 
look like Suzy's, and despatch her to the ocean depths in a leaking boat, 
thereby bringing about 'Suzy's' death instead – or is it Janet's? 
Suzy will take Janet's place, but George and Mary also have murder in
 mind and begin their own scheme to get their hands on the inheritance. 
Stumbling in and out of this mayhem is neighbour Edgar, an ouzo-swilling 
thriller-writer who only adds to the complications. 
Still with me?
Tom Barber gave a towering performance as Max; his command of 
the stage, and his ability to understand the complexities of the plot and 
convey them to the audience was exemplary – he allowed you to see the
 workings of Max's devious mind as he changed course and altered plans 
in reaction to the latest crisis. 
An impressive portrayal by an actor on the top of his game.
As Max’s wife Janet, Debbie Forsyth gave a sweet and charming 
portrayal of the seemingly put-upon wife, only to turn the tables and take the 
upper hand with an unexpected denouement at the end of the play – the 
change in  character from victim to master manipulator was
 toe-curlingly good!
Carol Bailey is a firm favourite with Playhouse patrons, and as not-so-bright 
girlfriend Suzy gave another performance to relish. Her facial expressions,
 reactions and  body language were superb, and this always watchable 
actress was a constant delight.
Many of the best lines fell to relatives George and Mary, played by 
Keith Burton and Rachel Smith respectively, and they seized the 
opportunity with relish.
Keith played hapless incompetent lawyer Keith with a dimwittedness that 
drew many of the laughs and chuckles from the captivated audience, 
delivering his lines with excellent comic timing.
Rachel Smith was superb as his domineering wife, her mantra of GEORGE!  
putting fear into many a manly breast in the audience. A perfect foil for 
Keith's ineptitude, she had wonderful poise and control and a killer delivery 
of lines which resulted in a memorable portrayal of a real harridan.
Thriller-writer Edgar could have been a make-weight, but in Michael Thorne's 
hands he was a fully-rounded character who contributed fully to the 
glorious mayhem. Appearing to be drunk is never as easy as you'd think, 
and all Michael's stage experience was brought to bear to the role.
During the run Tom Barber was unfortunately taken ill, and in the best 
theatrical tradition, Nevin Ward stepped into the role, book in hand, 
for the final two performances, and was very well received by an
understanding audience.
Doors opened and closed with the metronomic precision of a Whitehall farce, 
vases broke when they had to, and rugs slipped to order: not the most 
glamorous aspect of a stage production, but all supporting the on-stage 
action and adding to the flawless production values.
Christine Ward's masterly direction was evident throughout, from the 
attention to detail in the set, to the wonderful ensemble acting she produced 
from a very talented team.
The word most often on the lips of the departing audiences was 'Brilliant!'
- and they were right: this was yet another show that could have easily
graced the professional stage.
Is there nothing that this talented group can't do?
Nelson Pitt

This review first appeared in the Nidderdale Herald

Photographs by Chris Iredale

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