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3 Radio Plays


#1 The Topaz Flower

#2 The Dweller In The Darkness

#3 The Big Top Murders

Performed 22nd to 24th November 2012

Mystery Radio Plays Cast_edited.jpg

 Radio Plays - November 2012

Air of suspense with trio of radio mystery dramas


IT WAS different to anything it had tried before, and Riding Mill Drama Club certainly took its audiences through the entire spectrum of thoughts and emotions last week.

Within the space of a few hours, the small and talented cast presented three very different radio plays, which more than delivered the Evening of Murder, Mystery and Mayhem promised.

After a countdown by the audience to mark the beginning of the “on air” performance, “listeners” were first transported back to a country mansion in 1947.

Scotland Yard were called in after lord of the manor Harry Sloane was shot dead under the noses of an army of guests before family heirloom, the topaz flower, was found to be missing.

The cluster of jewels was soon identified as a potential motive for the killing as members of the Sloane family and friends fell under suspicion, one at a time.

Amateur detective Walter Kent (Shaun Fenwick) and Inspector Tom Bane (Steve Mobbs) were the glue that held the action together, while Joe Tobin’s over-the-top portrayal of Harry’s son, Raymond Sloane, provided plenty of laughter.

Next, the performance took a sinister turn as the scene was set for the second play The Dweller in the Darkness, in an isolated mansion on the edge of the Cornish moors.

Professional sound effects came into play as the Vyner family, renting the house, were set on edge by supernatural happenings during a card game before being persuaded to hold a seance by a neighbour.

Contact from the spirit of the former owner of the house, John Hardenby, soon turned nasty.

A 6ft, hunch-backed apparition attacked non-believer Mortimer (Mike Smith) who made the mistake of openly venting his scepticism.

The air of suspense was almost tangible as the six cast members turned the lights out and described seeing their worst fears.

While most of the cast read from their scripts, as per a radio announcer, Gaia Hudson, who played young Phyllis Vyner, often chose not to in the stand-out performance of the night.

In my opinion, the best was saved for last, with Dick Tracy mystery The Big Top Murders.

This time the audience were called upon to provide the sound effects as rivalry for the top billing among circus acts led to Zelda (Carole Craig-Gilby) being trampled by her own dancing elephant.

Excellent American accents were turned in by circus announcer (Francis Holmes) and Duckfoot the clown (Shaun Fenwick) as Dick Tracy (Steve Mobbs) and Tess Trueheart (Hazel Harrison) realised Zelda had been murdered and tried to identify who was responsible.

Slapstick humour and laugh-out-loud moments flooded forth as the action unfolded. A catchy interlude to advertise show sponsor, American candy Tootsie Roll, had the audience singing along.

All in all, a thoroughly entertaining night.

Gemma Brown

Published by  Hexham Courant Link

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