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KATS - A Tomb With A View

7th to 8th April 2006.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Grave case of humour

KATS takes corpsing to a new level with Norman Robbins’ comedy thriller

KATS: A Tomb With A View, at the United Reform Church Hall, Thatcham on Friday, April 7 and Saturday, April 8

It seemed very fitting for KATS to perform Norman Robbins’ comedy thriller A Tomb With A View next door to the church, and a stones-throw from the churchyard. The small hall was packed on Saturday night for this – for KATS at least – rare performance of a play, put on with only seven weeks’ rehearsal.

The play is set in the library of the country manor Monument House, at the reading of the will of the late Mr Tomb by sinister-looking solicitor Mr Penworthy (very well portrayed by Mike Cole). The deceased’s children made the Adams family look normal.

An excellent set coped with doors banging, noises off, and moving bookcases without so much of a ripple of the walls.

The dysfunctional Tomb siblings were led by pompous Lucien, the eldest child, followed by his sister Dora, who had an aptitude for poisoning those she wanted to dispose of and burying them in the garden, the Marcus – who thought her was Caesar – Emily who thought she was a bloke and Monica who knew she wasn’t and took every opportunity to flaunt her assets.

Directors Nina Hopkinson and Kim Haysom-Gamblin had cast the family (Jeff Brooks, Sue Hollingbery, Eileen McCarthy, John Hicks and Mandy Cole) brilliantly.

There was another brother Oliver, not seen, only heard – a werewolf who was chained in the cellar, emitting loud intermittent howls.

Well done too to playwright Norman Robbins for some really good dialogue – my favourite line, delivered by Emily, of her sister being “not of this earth or Fuller’s either”.

As the family gathered for the reading of the will, they were advised that they would be joined by servants and a guest – unfamiliar to this household.

They were all beneficiaries to the will and the guest was supposed to be a famous writer of whom the deceased was fond.

Rosey Tyler made a brief debut appearance as Miss Ash, along with Kevin Miller as her secretary Perry Potter, both cohorts to a scam to get hold of the money.

The will was read and only the government would benefit, by way of death duties. Miss Ash would have inherited the bulk of the fortune, if only it could have been found. As it was at that moment no one stood to get anything.

However, she then got the poisoned wine, which ended her performance for the evening.

But she was not the only corpse…

Even the bent old cook, played by Stefanie George, copped it with a meat cleaver, and nearly all the family ended up in the same boat, together with Nurse Franklin, played by Kayleigh Hill.

All credit to the cast for an excellent performance and to Nina and Kim for ensuring spot-on timing, the backstage crew for sounds off, scary lighting and good props and costumes.

KATS achieved in seven weeks what some fail to after months of rehearsals.