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Silchester Players - Tiptoe Through the Tombstones

14th, 15th, 21st and 22nd May 2004.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Guess whodunnit?

Silchester Players: Tiptoe Through The Tombstones, at Silchester Village Hall, on Friday, May 14, Saturday, May 15, Friday, May 21 and Saturday, May 22

Following the death of an elderly relative, members of the Tomb family are invited back to the ancestral home by the family solicitor. A familiar storyline, but the Tombs are no ordinary family but highly skilled assassins and a sinister bunch. Within minutes the solicitor has disappeared without trace, and over the next couple of hours more corpses pile up than in an episode of Midsomer Murders.

Much of the comedy in Norman Robbins' hilarious thriller stems from the rich variety of characters - from the Tombs themselves to the effeminate cleaner Vernon Prewitt and Larry Lewis, a children's entertainer who turns up at the house after crashing his car in the fog. The production was polished in every sense, but producer Tim Oliver deserves special praise for matching his cast so successfully with the characters.

Brian Gillett portrayed Prewitt with camp perfection, relishing the numerous innuendos. Keith Graham provided a suitably crusty cameo as the elderly solicitor Crayle, while Sarah Oliver settled comfortably into the role of the prim (though not so proper) secretary Zoe. Jo Nobbs came across well as the hapless maid Edna, while Alan Moorhouse played the bumbling Larry with considerable comic flare.

The complex relationships between the Tombs were well handled by the cast. Caroline Norton was deliciously sinister as Octavia, an ageing medium with deadly hairpins. Chris Horton's Henrietta was suitably strong and domineering, and contrasted well with John Coffin's Augustus, whose attempts to be head of the household were undermined by his female relations. Lyn Davies gave a finely understated performance as Athene, and Helen Chesterman was brilliantly excruciating as the brash Fabia.

Atmospheric music and Kevin Belcher's well-constructed set, complete with a moving bookcase opening into a secret corridor, rounded off an excellent production. The play continues this week, and is well worth the trip - I bet you won't guess who did it!