Where and When
13th – 16th November 1974 @ The Church House, Wimborne
Clarissa, wife of a diplomat, is adept at spinning tales of adventure but when a murder takes place in her drawing room she finds live drama much harder to cope with. Desperate to dispose of the body before her husband arrives with an important politician, she enlists the help of her guests. Hilarity ensues when they are interrupted by the arrival of wry detective, Inspector Lord.
- Sir Rowland Delahaye – Arthur Brooks
- Hugo Birch – Tim Eling
- Jeremy Warrender – Mike Waring
- Clarissa Hailsham-Brown – Iris Platt
- Pippa Hailsham-Brown – Jan Johnson
- Mildred Peake – Muriel Brooks
- Elgin – Edmund Henbest
- Oliver Costello – John Anthony
- Henry Hailsham-Brown – Andy Drummond
- Inspector Lord – Tony Pawley
- Sgt Jones – Mark Syrett
- Producer – Elizabeth Knight
- Stage Manager – Andy Drummond
- Properties – Thelma Dryden
- Prompt – Jean Lewis
- Front of House – Janine Brockes
- Publicity – Rod Knight
Audience caught in web of suspense
A young wife, Jan Johnson, made an impressive debut in Wimborne Drama’s latest production last week. She joined the cast for the first time as Pippa Hailsham-Brown in Agatha Christie’s Spiders Web and it was a tribute to her acting ability that she did not seem out of place in the gymslip she was wearing. Her portrayal of the youngest character in the play was convincing enough to persuade many members of the audience that she was a school girl in real life.
Most of the others in the cast were familiar to regular members of Wimborne Drama’s audiences. The acting experience of Muriel Brooks was very apparent, and she gave a brilliant performance as the gushing, rather eccentric gardener, Mildred Peake.
Ted Henbest made an ideal butler once again. His air of servility is so strong that he would be wasted in any other part when there is a butler in the cast. Tim Eling, as the magistrate, Hugo Birch, summed up everyone’s image of the typical J.P.
It was one of Wimborne Drama’s best productions for some time, and, despite the predictable pattern which is a feature of all Agatha Christie plays, the audience were kept in suspense until the final curtain.
The cast were: Arthur Brooks (Sir Rowland Delahaye), Tim Eling (Hugo Birch), Mike Waring (Jeremy Warrender), Iris Platt (Clarissa Hailsham-Brown), Jan Johnson (Pippa Hailsham-Brown), Muriel Brooks (Mildred Peake), Edmund Henbest (Elgin), John Anthony (Oliver Costello), Andy Drummond (Henry Hailsham-Brown), Tony Pawley (Inspector Lord), Mark Syrett (Sgt Jones)
Stage staff: Elizabeth Knight (Producer), Andy Drummond (Stage Manager), Thelma Dryden (Properties), Jean Lewis (Prompt), Janine Brockes (Front of House), Rod Knight (Publicity)
JUSTICE DONE IN AGATHA CHRISTIE PLAY
Wimborne Drama Club’s winter production certainly did justice to one of Dame Agatha Christie’s weaker plays last week. The group, now in its 46th year, staged “Spiders Web,” a ”whodunnit” at Church House, Wimborne.
The action of the play took part in the drawing room of Copplestone Court, the Kent home of the Hailsham-Brown family: Mr Halisham-Brown (Andrew Drummond), a Foreign Offce Official, has recently
been divorced by his drug addicted wife. He marries Clarissa (Iris Platt), who is an artful woman with a vivid imagination. The intrigue of the play begins when the new husband of the former Mrs Hailsham-Brown, Oliver Costello (John Anthony) arrives at the house and threatens to take back the child of his previous wife’s marriage.
The child, Pippa, has previously suffered a nervous breakdown owing to her natural mother’s abnormal
behaviour and when the body of Costello is later found in the drawing room, beside a secret door, suspicion falls upon the frightened child.
Clarissa persuades three eminent friends, Sir Rowland Delahaye (Arthur Brooks), Mr Hugo Birch JP (Tim Eling) and Jeremy Warrender (Mike Waring) to conceal the facts of the death but her plans are arrested when an unknown informer brings the police charging to the scene.
Before the murderer is apprehended, while attempting to repeat his crime, many other suspicious acts
are performed. Revealed are a previous murder of an antique dealer involved in narcotics and the presence of a valuable stamp in the possession of Pippa.
The butler Elgin, was played by Edmund Henbest and the two indomitable policemen, Inspector Lord
and Constable Jones, were played by Mr Tony Pawley and Mark Syrett respectively.
The production, not one of the Club’s best, was brightened by good performances by Mr Brooks and his wife Muriel, who took the part of “stiff-upper-lip” lady gardener. Newcomer Jan Johnson gave a convincing performance as the neurotic daughter, Pippa.
Although Church House is not the most suitable place to stage a play, the group made good use of the space provided and producer, Elizabeth Knight, is to be congratulated.
With practice and more relaxed acting, Wimborne Drama Club will, undoubtedly stage a more successful
production in the future. The stage manager was Mr Andrew Drummond, properties were arranged by
Thelma Dryden, prompting was by Jean Lewis and the front of the house was arranged by Janine Brockes. Publicity officer was Mr Rod Knight, husband of the producer.