SECONDARY CAUSE OF DEATH
Workshop Theatre, Gwynneville
Bookings: 42259407 or www.trybooking.com
Mystery, murder and a whole lot of laughs are in the offing when the Workshop Theatre puts on Peter Gordon’s Agatha Christie spoof Secondary Cause of Death.
The second of Gordon’s Inspector Pratt trilogy, Secondary Cause of Death follows on from Murdered to Death, which Workshop Theatre staged to great success two years ago.
The play includes several of the same characters, or at least those few who survived Murdered to Death.
It is set in an English country manor on the eve of World War II.
Colonel Charles Craddock has inherited Bagshot House and converted it into a hotel. In residence are several suspicious characters, including a strange Polish count, an eccentric thespian, and an army captain named Henrietta.
The bumbling Inspector Pratt arrives with grim news for the Colonel, and before long the bodies start to pile up.
Several actors who appeared in the earlier production are reprising their roles for Secondary Cause of Death, including Ben Verdon as Inspector Pratt and Ian McColm as Colonel Craddock.
Juliet Scrine, who in Murdered to Death played Miss Joan Maple – a character who bears some uncanny similarities to Christie’s amateur sleuth Miss Jane Marple – returns as her sister, Miss Cynthia Maple.
She says it has been great fun bringing the characters back to life. ‘‘The rehearsals are going extremely well,’’ she says.
‘‘I guess because a lot of us have worked together before it makes it easy and a lot of fun.
‘‘You are always discovering new things. As your scripts go down and you become more familiar with your character and you define more and more elements of your character, that does tend to make everyone laugh.’’
While the play will have special appeal to fans of English murder mysteries, Scrine says there is something for everyone in it.
‘‘It’s silly and funny and there’s a lot of laughs. It’s a great night.’’
‘‘It will appeal to everybody. There’s no language and there’s no blood or guts or anything – that’s all suggested.
‘‘It’s a physical play so even children will enjoy it because of the physical humour,’’ says Scrine.
‘‘It is set in 1939 in an old-style country house so we’ve got lovely costumes and a nice set.’’
The trickiest part for the actors, she says, is finding the right balance in the characters.
‘‘That is probably the biggest challenge – trying to find a believable character that is over the top enough, but not too much,’’ Scrine says.