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Boundary Players - Out of Sight, Out of Murder

27th April to 1st May 2004.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

In praise of the author

The Boundary Players: Out of Sight... Out of Murder, at the William Penney Theatre, from Tuesday, April 27 to Saturday, May 1

"The Boundary Players are brilliant, good, or you come along to support them," said the man in the seat behind me. It was the first time I had seen the players in action and this production fell into the middle category.

Fred Carmichael's comedy imposes an immense burden on the actors, with several parts having massive amounts to learn, so congratulations to all the company in this respect for there were very few blips.

The action takes place in Vermont where author Peter Knight (Mike Dyer) has retired to a creepy house to write a murder mystery since "royalties are not what they used to be".

The characters from his book arrive one by one to pursue the destiny he has laid down for them and a creepy lot they are - Lydia (Anne Phipps giving an elegant polished Penelope Keith performance), Cogburn the butler (soundly played by Steve Schollar) and Fiona Babcock (Michelle Maidment as a nicely acerbic spinster).

They were joined by Kristen Johnston as pretty ingénue Kay Kelsey who certainly looked the part but didn't quite settle into it - perhaps not quite frivolous enough - the gormless maid Addie (Davina Harris - loved the cap), the 'juvenile' Dick Stanton (Richard Mier) and solicitor-reading-the-will-at-midnight Jordan Dillingham (Clive Lewington hampered by a pantomime of a wig which made him a dead ringer for a character in The Simpsons).

Landlady Minna (Pat Archer), like Mike Dyer, was lumbered with having to maintain an American accent (the fictional characters remaining firmly English). It may be that Mike Dyer actually is American, if not, he deserves especial praise not only for his faultless accent but also for making the harassed author character so entirely believable. A natural actor, never allowing the mass of words to slow up his dialogue, he gave a gem of a performance.

Directors Colin Webb and Mary Robinson and producer Paul Robinson used the excellent set to great advantage and the play certainly deserved more than the sparse, though friendly, audience they had last Thursday. With just a bit more drama and sparkle it could have been a winner.