Wednesday, 20 January 2016

"Tiptoe Through The Tombstones" by Norman Robbins
The Bonington Players
Bonington Theatre, Arnold.

A comedy thriller that gives you the MMMM factor. Murder, Mayhem, Mystery and Mirth. A gathering of the Tomb family has been arranged by a solicitor and his secretary regarding the reading of a will but one by one they seem to be getting bumped off, but by whom?

Let's look at the possible suspects/victims of the piece. Octavia Tomb is the one who seems to be in touch with her family the most, well that is her past family, or should that be the family that have passed? Kerry Williams has a ball as the medium with questionable powers of reaching the other side, but someone helps her to reach the other side quicker than she hoped for.

Henrietta Tomb; the gung ho, jolly hockey sticks no-nonsense member of the strange family strides across the stage like a farmer surveying his land. Played by Lindsey Parr, and lovely to see another side of Lindsey as the last role I saw her in was in "Macbeth", this is an out and out comedy role which really suited her comedic timing and facial expressions.

Augustus Tomb, the doctor, with his haughty "I'm in charge" attitude, could he really get his hands dirty with murder? Well it wouldn't be the first time would it? Eddie Janusczcyk pumps his chest out to the max for this role who's not such a hot shot with a gun as he, and his family think.

Athene Tomb is, at first just a scatty and rather dotty old lady with some wonderful family anecdotes. Jo Thomas portrays Athene in such a way but has she got a darker side?

And the final, or is the final remaining member of the Tomb family is sex-mad and vampish Fabia. Anna Hodkin reminded me, in her role as Fabia, as a mix of all of the best characters from Catherine Tate. Very funny and over amorous with hands like an octopus where men are concerned. Would Fabia be too busy trying to grab a piece of children's entertainer, Larry Lewis, who, on this foggy night just happened to wrap his van around their gate post, dressed as a clown, to tear herself away for a bit of murderous skullduggery?

The solicitor, Mortimor Crayle (Vic Roberts) and his secretary Zoe (Zoe Lander) could be involved but after Crayle disappears under strange circumstances, he could be the number one suspect... especially as no body has been found. Could this be a red herring? Well Athene did say that she smelt fish!

Now the only other two people in the house are the hired cleaner and the maid. Vernon Prewitt is the oh so camp cleaner with a theatrical penchant and Edna Honeywell the maid who just wanted to do her best and get out of the place before the Tombs arrived. Christian King plays the very camp Vernon, surely no-one could be that camp, could they Vern? or is he making good use of his acting skills? After all Vern did have a walk on part in "Emmerdale" and several other roles on his CV. over qualified for a simple cleaner but I suppose every "actress" has a period of "resting" don't they?

Edna, played by Helen Holbrook, is all a bit nervous and wet behind the ears and how she managed to get taken on by that agency is a mini wonder.

The play is riddled with twists and turns and red herrings and the ending came as a surprise to me, as I'm sure will to you as well. A well written and witty script brought to life under the direction of Bob Wildgust. The creeping music adds a wonderful tension to the piece. A wonderful set designed by David Goatham and built by Richard Gee, Nigel Kenton, Dave Mattison and Tony Tomlinson with brilliant attention to detail for the period.

There are many wonderful one-liners delivered by a confident cast in this very entertaining thriller mystery which is on at The Bonington Theatre, Arnold until Saturday 23 January 2016, but for anyone with a phobia of clowns...................I never found clowns that funny anyway!

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