‘Audience with Murder’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by November 21, 2013

‘Audience with Murder’ is a comedy thriller that is guaranteed to confuse and flabbergast the audience. This clever play was written by Sydney born actor, Roger Leach – who died aged 53, 3 years before the play’s opening at the Edinburgh Festival in 2004 – and by UK actor Colin Wakefield, who was mainly known for his pantomimes.

You can catch this play at the Melville Theatre, on the corner of Stock Road and Canning Highway, Palmyra on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights until the 30th November. Shows are at 8.00 pm, with a matinee on Sunday 24th at 2.00 pm.

Melville has a tradition of donating a portion of the ticket money to various charities, so $1 of every ticket is generously going to the Association for the Blind guide dogs.

 In a very smart sitting room (set design Joan Scafe), four friends are seated busily doing the first reading of a murder play, written by student of English, Sally (Sharon Menzies). This is Sally’s first play and she is relying upon the help, suggestions and backing of those present; however, after a few pages, it becomes obvious that her husband, George (Peter Bloor), is far from supportive. George criticises and mocks every second word his wife has written.

The other readers are a pharmacy student, Charles (Giuseppe Rotondella) and a young nurse, Kim (Tara Smith), who has recently tended Sally’s Mum whilst she was dying. This young couple are not amused by George’s obnoxious behaviour.

Whilst enacting a scene of the play, one of their group dies. This is just the beginning of the problems.

The interval follows, and the audience are left wondering where can the second Act possibly go? We know the killer, but the next hour is quite unique in its conception. As the poster suggests with its matryoshka dolls (mother doll – which in this case is more applicable than a babushka – grandmother doll), there are several unexpected layers to be revealed.

The play had a slightly slow start, but the characterisation was well developed by the cast. The director, Joan Scafe, subtly increased the pace as the play progressed, and controlled the complexity of the script very well. There are plenty of laughs and gasps at some of George’s politically incorrect comments.

Lighting and sound design and operation by Jeff Hansen was on the ball.

Costumes and props Joan Scafe and Ross Bertinshaw gave a visual treat rarely seen in Community Theatre.

A very different play, most enjoyable.