The latest production by Bicester Drama Society has received a rave review from the Oxfordshire Drama Network.
Simon Brett’s Murder in Play was performed by the group earlier this month and was applauded for the performances of its cast and for keeping an atmosphere of suspense until the end.
Reviewer, Deidre Jones said: “Ivor Novello songs set the time for this between wars play. Warm welcome from the front of house team dressed in aprons and caps and curtain rises on a pleasing set designed by Mike Kirby. Swords on wall, period telephone, lots of detail.
“The director, Simon Tomlinson appearing from the audience and shouting ‘cut’ interrupts the first scene – thus we realised that this was a play within a play and we were watching a rehearsal.
“Renee Savage played by Libby Griffin, was in command at all times, The young blonde was played by Kara Wilkinson in her first acting role; she had nice diction but needs a little more confidence, which, of course, will come.
“Mike J Copinger as Tim Fermor, played a good ‘shell shocked’ former soldier, nice soldierly posture too. His experience as an actor stood out. Maria Hunter played a nice ‘Mrs Overall’ maid of all work and Shona Maxwell was a convincing maid. John Armitage played a Greek impresario and the detective when the murder was discovered. He was relaxed and comfortable on stage on this, his first production with BDS, having appeared with several other societies in the past.
“Barbara Bone played Pat, the put-upon stage manager/props with completely believable competence and calm, while all about her was chaos.
“Simon Tomlinson was Boris Smolensky, the director of the mystery play and I would have liked a little more attack in this part although his accent never faltered.
“We were asked to name the murderer during the interval – needless to say I was quite wrong! There are lots of motives and suspects in this whoddunnit enough to keep the suspense going right up to the end.
“We had appropriate music at the beginning and in the interval but nothing at the end, which I would have liked.
“Libby Griffin and Sue Harkness are named in the programme as joint producers and directors and they should be pleased with their cast – the audience, with quite a few young people I noted, certainly enjoyed the evening’s entertainment.”
The Oxfordshire Drama Network is an umbrella organisation for Oxfordshire-based non-professional drama and operatic societies. It’s website can be found at www.oxfordshiredramanetwork.org