Saddleworth Players

You don’t get this good at being bad without having a great team

Murder at Checkmate Manor is a play within a play put on by the ‘Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomens’Guild Dramatic Society’. As with all of the Farndale plays, this one doesn’t always go right. The problem is that the rights have to be wrong and the wrongs have to be very right, which requires talent and timing.

The very hard working cast of five produced quite possibly the worst murder mystery ever performed and you don’t get that good at being bad without having a great team.

Leading it all and trying to keep everyone in check is Phoebe, primly and properly played by Alayne Whitworth who also takes on five other characters, most of whom end up dead ... or do they? Then there is Audrey, played by Verity Mann, who shows some excellent timing and comedy in her many different roles.

June Holmes plays Thelma, who gets the most out of her two roles including being one half of a very funny mimed song and dance duet. Felicity only plays two roles but Lorraine Reynolds and her extremely expressive face had the audience in stitches. Gordon, played by John Tanner, who is a last minute replacement for Sylvia! He gave a lovely portrayal of Inspector O'Reilly, completely getting the lack of facial and vocal expression. His mimed song and dance with Thelma was a triumph but the highlight had to be his outfit in the fashion show.

A fantastic set, great costumes and beautifully timed sound and lighting cues gave the audience some very funny moments. What a great team effort all round! There was even time for some audience participation with the raffle and quiz with prizes to be won. I was just disappointed that I didn't win the homemade marmalade!

Mark Rosenthal, Jan 28, 2018