Prescription For Murder
by Norman Robbins

Presented by special arrangement with Samuel French Ltd.
Performed; 20-22 November 2014
Produced by Andrea Hughes
Assistant Producer - Vivien Hughes
Cast (in order of appearance)
Barbara Forth - Rachel Cockburn
Dorothy Livingstone - Kathryn Wilkinson
Dr Richard Forth - Adrian Widdowson
Mary Haigh - Cathy Henderson
Allan Haigh - Rob Duffett
Eric Dawson - Lee Wallace
Julia Moore - Stella Wallace
Stage Management
Stage Manager – Charis Varnavides
Technical Supervisor - John Burgess
Wardrobe - the cast.

Props - Peter Hughes
Make-Up - Sheila Telfer

Prompt - Andrea Varnavides
Stage Crew - Mick Brown, John Burgess, Brian Marston, Lewis Murray, Peter O'Brien, Michael Payne, Richard Stead, Charis Varnavides
Scenic Artist - Richard Stead
Theatre Management
Licensee - John Burgess
House Management - Myfanwy Reid and team.
Box Office - Gill Milner
Publicity - Andrea Varnavides
Refreshments - Anna Sweeney and team.
Sweetshop - Jill Marston and Una Robertson
Photographs - Chris Varnavides
The society wishes to thank all those who have helped in any way with this production, and we thank you for your support.

The Play
In the seemingly quiet town of Bere Knighton, there is never a dull moment for Dr Richard Forth. Not only does he have a hectic work schedule and an awkward friendship with his ex-girlfriend, but his wife, barbara, is constantly ill and nobody knows what is wrong with her.
When Eric Dawson, a stranger, claims to have known Richard's second fiancée - a woman Richard claims does not exist - Barbara's health worsens and she isn't the only one. With bad luck spreading almost as quickly as bad news, it seems somebody is out to kill Barbara, and anyone else who gets in their way.

by Diana Sutherland
From curtain up, starting with a very tastefully furnished and well lit sitting room, with plenty of space for moving around so that action was visible at all times, we knew it was going to be a quality production. The producer, Andrea Hughes, and assistant producer, Vivien Hughes, are to be congratulated on a fine evening's entertainment. The plot required almost continuous sound effects, noises off, telephones and doorbells ringing and those were provided promptly on cue the night I was there by John Burgess and Charis Varnavides.
This play was so much Midsomer Murder I missed the appearance of a police inspector plus sidekick. There were undertones of Agatha Christie as the red herrings came thick and fast. After a slowish start the excellent cast drew us into a complex plot and extremely wordy mystery play. The cast was challenged, as they had to keep us engaged with a complex back-story and try to put each character into context.
Rachel Cockburn played Barabara, the unwell but pleasant doctor's wife, with a soft clear voiced sweetness. The doctor played by Adrian Widdowson was bad-tempered and totally unsympathetic to his wife's continual bouts of illness, did he know more than he was letting on? The narrative voice of who is doing what, where at what time is Dorothy, the 'Char' played ably by Kathryn Wilkinson, whose sympathetic support for her employer was clearly conveyed. Rob Duffett and Cathy Henderson gave us the humorous moments of this play. Their bantering was a delight and they also contributed to the information the audience needed to keep up with this complex plot. They were an excellent casting and worked extremely well together. A highlight performance was given by Stella Wallace, playing 'the other woman' in true femme fatale mode. Her animated performance quite convinced that the choice between a gentle, compliant sickly wife was a no-brainer.
Next we have the unexpected appearance of Lee Wallace, as Eric, a shy young man, with the rather disturbing information that he suspected the doctor of wanting to be rid of his wife, really setting the cat among the pigeons! Lee had a long wordy explanation for his suspicions which he delivered in a diffident and apologetic manner which convinced me, anyway, to grasp this red herring.
So we proceeded with clues and red herrings with the poor harassed, hard-worked doctor taking the highest villain score.
THE SUDDENLY we are in a very violent denouement. A steely harshness comes into Barbara's voice and proof all sweetness and light disappear, the shy Eric, who is thought to have been killed, to our surprise returns. Then shock horror, Dr Forth drinks a poisoned drink already prepared by the murderous pair, Julia is found dead at the foot of the stairs, Dorothy is attacked by 'the returned from the dead young man Eric'. While it lasted it was very threatening and frightening and the cast put their all into a very exciting finale. HOWEVER, Dorothy before being attacked has managed to telephone the police whilst in the kitchen and they arrive in the nick of time to save the day, but not the doctor. PHEW!!
Terrible shame about the doctor thought, villain all the way through and dead in the end!

Photo Gallery
Here is a selection of photos from RoCo's production of Prescription For Murder.
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