Hucknall’s Lovelace Theatre Group’s Murdered to Death has typical Agatha Christie plot

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THE latest production by Hucknall’s Lovelace Theatre Group, ‘Murdered to Death’, had a typical Agatha Christie plotline.

But as the whodunnit came in the category of a hilarious spoof, it was aimed at making the audience die laughing!

The action was set in the drawing-room of a country manor in the 1930s.

Cheryl Cresswell was the owner of the house, Mildred Bagshott, whose fate was summed up in the second syllable of her surname -- being shot.

The unusual suspects included Mildred’s niece, Dorothy Foxglove (Becs Mayes), socialite Liz Hartley-Trumpington (Jess Wall), mysterious Frenchman Pierre Marceau (Daniel Knight), Colonel Craddock (Jamie McBride) and his wife, Margaret (Bernie Kirk).

Enter the inept and bungling detective in charge of the case, Inspector Pratt (Pete O’Kane), who threw himself around the stage and repeatedly got everybody’s name wrong.

The inspector’s incompetence might have been expected to end up with him shooting himself in the foot. Instead, he inflicted this misfortune on his hapless assistant, Constable Thompkins (Jacob Hunt-Wheatley), in a botched-up reconstruction of the murder.

All the suspects proved to have something to hide, even the wayward butler, Bunting (a particularly amusing cameo by Graham Smith).

Seated doing her knitting and waiting for the right moment to make her move was Miss Maple (Linda Mayes), who was clearly based on a famous Christie amateur sleuth with an almost identical name.

The set design included a couple of paintings on the wall which proved to have a key bearing on the plot.

The quickfire dialogue meant that prompter Vicky Clark was kept busy at times. But the play, co-directed by Chris Knowles and Eileen Mayes, added up to a delightful evening’s entertainment for appreciative audiences.

The group’s next production will be their pantomime -- the classic fairy tale, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ -- to be performed on January 23, 24 and 25, 2014.