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Loddon Players

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Sherfield Village Hall, Sherfield on Loddon, near Basingstoke, Hampshire.

Box office

01256 974282.

Review of Tiptoe Through the Tombstones

26th to 28th November 2015.

Review from Newbury Theatre.

Tiptoe Through the Tombstones is Norman Robbins’ sequel to A Tomb with a View, set in the same location of the Tomb family’s home but with a different set of characters, as most of the original family were killed off in the first play. However, the plots and characterisations of the two plays are very similar. The family members have gathered at the behest of solicitor Mortimer Crayle, ostensibly to arrange the division of the estate of patriarch Septimus but Crayle’s plan is more sinister. With the help of his secretary Zoe, he plans to dispose of the Tomb family and misappropriate the fortune.

The opening scene with Vernon and Edna, supplied to do the cleaning and catering for the event, set a good pace, with Peter Francis as the outrageously camp Vernon and Jo Long as the gormless maid Edna. David White as Crayle gave the right air of authority with a hint of deviousness, but was a bit difficult to hear at times. Emily Browne was good as the efficient and rather superior Zoe.

Then there were the Tombs. A well-differentiated set of characters who deserved to be played over-the-top – and they were. Octavia (Joy L’Enfant), the weird psychic; Henrietta (Chris Horton), the butch glutton; Augustus (Steve Schollar), the ineffectual and permanently angry male heir (perhaps a little too OTT here); Athene (Margot Konitzer), the dizzy herbal specialist; Fabia (Maggie Browne), the brash nymphomaniac – all played with great panache.

Larry Lewis (Matt Stanley) aka Coughdrop the Clown and in full clown getup was thrust into the crazy family gathering and, surprisingly, was the only normal one there. Not that it would do him much good; from the cast of ten, only two were still alive at the end.

These were good performances from a strong cast. I particularly liked Jo Long’s body language as she clumped around and Maggie Browne’s brazen flirting, provoking wide-eyed terror from the clown. The pace was generally good, but slipped a bit at times. The set was the best I’ve seen at Loddon and the costumes were excellent.

Co-directors Chris Horton and Maggie Browne brought out the humour and have come up with another impressive Loddon Players production, for the group’s tenth anniversary.


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