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Murder in Company

13th to 15th November 1986

By Philip King & John Boland

Directed by Eric Howker

Cast List

Alan Wilson   Norman Hodgett
Margaret Stephens   Jane Charman
Ted Smith   Ron Earl
Philip Stephens   Chris Jones
Ronnie Meadows   David Rea
Phoebe Kershaw   Rosemary Barker
Patricia Robins   Pat Browning
Doris Stewart   Nikki Parker

Production team

Prompt   Joan Middleton
Stage Manager   Yvonne Featherstone
Assistant Stage Manager   Ted Pearce
Lighting and Sound Effects   Mike Plummer & Joan Middleton
Understudy / Cast assistant   Penny Vickery
Set Design and Construction   Elaine Christmas and Yvonne Featherstone
Publicity Design   Elaine Christmas
Front of House and Box Office   Joan Earl and Rosemary Barker

Acknowledgements

The Society wishes to thank Mrs. E. Elkins-Green, Dr. R. Curtis and Mrs. R. Barker
for their kindness in allowing their premises to be used for rehearsals.

Preview

From the Dorking Advertiser, 7th November 1986:-

Ockley Dramatic Society is to present "Murder in Company" on November 13, 14 and 15 at 8pm.

The action begins as a dramatic society assembles on the stage of a church hall to rehearse mystery thriller under its dictatorial director.

But events and strains within the company prove to be mare than equal to those in the play they are to perform.

One of the girls is attacked by a prowler, the director's wife is friendlier than is wise with a young man in the company, an unpleasant caretaker tries a little blackmail and one of the women seems to know him from the past.

And then the mysterious death of the caretaker brings the situation of their whodunnit production even closer to reality.

"Murder in Company" by Philip Kink and John Boland, will be staged at the village hall. Light refreshments will be available and a wine bar will be open from 7:20pm.

Tickets cost 2.50 (including refreshments) and are available from Rosemary Barker and Joan Earl.

Review

From the West Sussex County Times, 21st November 1986, by Gill Baker:-

Mystery, tension and humour were the key ingredients which went to make Ockley Dramatic Society's production of Murder in Company a huge success.

Last week's play attracted good audiences who obviously enjoyed the excellent character acting and an imaginative plot, written by Philip King and John Boland.

The novel setting for the play was the stage of a village hall and characters were members of an amateur dramatic society.

A web of intrigue is woven as skeletons are brought out of the cupboard and surprising secrets are revealed.

Rehearsals are interrupted by Ted Smith, a particularly obnoxious but hilariously funny caretaker, played marvelously by Ron Earl.

Lurking in the wings or at the back of the hall the new caretaker gets to hear and see a lot more than he should and, consequently, incurs the wrath of almost every member.

When he is later found dead in the hall's kitchen beside the exposed wires of the faulty boiler the verdict is accidental death, but the players think they know differently.

Alan Wilson, the gangly young electrician, played perceptively by Norman Hodgett, has an adolescent crush on Margaret Stephens, played by Jane Charman, and the caretaker spotted the couple alone together before rehearsals.

Margaret's husband, Philip, is the bad tempered producer who is played brilliantly by Chris Jones.

He quickly runs out of patience with the caretaker and the finger of suspicion is pointed even more towards him when his scarf is grabbed by Doris Stewart when she is attacked by a prowler on her way to the hall.

Patricia Robins, played by Pat Browning, has overheard ex-professional actress Pheobe Kershaw, played convincingly by Rosemary Barker, when she recognises the caretaker from her past and threatens to injure him.

Patricia confesses that he was the caretaker at the school where her illegitimate son was a pupil 20 years before. She is convinced his teasing led to her son's drug addiction and, finally, his drowning in a river.

Nikki Parker produced an excellent performance as the vivacious Doris, the latest victim of the prowler, but perhaps the star of the show was David Rea, who played Ronnie Meadows, the clowning stage manager.

His constant witticisms and fooling around begin to wear thin. He is the one person who is not taken seriously until he staggers into the hall drunk one night and tells of his lonely bachelor life.

A true whodunnit which kept everyone guessing until the end and was entertaining into the bargain.