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the murder room : hunters hill theatre puts on a classic murder spoof

There is never a bad time for a good murder spoof and Hunters Hill Theatre’s production of Jack Sharkey’s THE MURDER ROOM went down a treat.

Sharkey’s plot is very much more on the ridiculous than the sublime side..The play is set inside a country estate, Bynewood Cottage, Harrogate in the countryside of England in earlyn June 1969. Husband Edgar Hollister is suspicious that his newly married second wife is having an affair, which she of-course is. He confronts her about it, she is aggrieved, gets her hands on a gun, shoots him dead or does she?! and carts him out of the way.

Before long the stage is filled with an assortment of characters who come to the Hollister’s house and are vetted by their very efficient maid, Lottie. Edgar’s long lost daughter Susan arrives with her boyfriend, Barry. Then of-course the constabulary arrive in the form of Inspector James Crandell and Constable Howard who attempt to sort out the puzzle of Edgar’ disappearance.

The play’s title Murder Room refers to a tucked away room in the basement which none other than the missing man of the house deemed as a good room to hide a body! 

Sharkey’s dialogue was sparky and there were plenty of zingy one liners and sharp repartee between the characters to keep us entertained. A highlight was a scene of fast paced repartee which was reminiscent of Abbott and Costello’s classic ‘Who’s On First’ routine.

It all made for a bit of spirited nonsense that was well directed by Margaret Olive. James McMasters and Leonnie Bee’s period set works well as does Anthea Brown’s costumes. Some of the show’s humour was achieved by the allusion to the sound of the cottage’s creaking, antiquated down pipes.

Anthony Burns performance as the cuckolded husband Edgar was short lived but enjoyable.  His acting skills had a second life, coming back later in the play as  a typical British bobby, Abel Howard.

Margareta Moir impressed as Edgar’s drama queen, cunning second wife Mavis, and  she got to wear some fairly stylish, elegant costumes.

Maria Karambelas delivered my favourite performance as the sharp witted, assertive Lottie Molloy who is nobody’s fool.

Genevieve Papadopoulos was appealing as Edgar’s very ditzy, people pleasing daughter, Susan, whilst William Burke cultivated some clever neurotic mannerisms as her boyfriend, Barry.

Martin Maling played the ‘crime knows no calendar’ Inspector Crandell.

It is great to see the Hunters Hill Theatre still going after the terrible drama that they had late last year when their long time venue at the Anglican Church in Hunters Hill was sold. Fortunately they now have a reliable new venue at the  Town Hall which was mainly filled for the shows’ last performance, today’s matinee.

Hunter Hills next show is a more serious piece, Malcolm McLoughlin’s A Letter From The General which will play the Hunters Hill Town Hall between the 8th and the 17th September. Bookings open Monday August 14th.







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