If the thought of yet another pantomime
fills you with horror, then the seasonal frolic which makes up
Eastern Angles' Christmas entertainment is the one for you. This year
Julian Harries and Pat Whymark suggest that we Dial M
for Murgatroyd. This eponymous character is a "sweet"
old lady, not a million miles removed from a certain Miss Marple.
She's summoned to a country village (one presumes in Suffolk) by her
old school-friend Violet Fitzall.
Violet has a problem.
Well, several of them in fact. One is her husband and lord of the
local manor Clive. Two others are her huntin' shootin' fishin'
daughter Georgina and her languidly effete son Fenton. The plot
thickens and general mayhem ensues when one Mad Meg, assorted tramps,
village people of differing degrees of probity, Georgina's unwelcome
suitor and a Scotland Yard detective come onto the scene and into the
fast and furious action.
Designer Richard Evans has thought up
an array of quick-change costumes and highly portable scene-setting
props for the hard-working, hard-playing cast. Patrick Marlowe
flips in and out of seven different characters (of both sexes)
sometimes playing two or three in the same scene. Harries has written
himself two major roles – Clive Fitzall and Inspector Jessop –
but leaves plenty of juicy moments for Samuel Martin, including a
brace of hapless butlers and the airy-fairy Fenton.
Deborah Hewitt is the gun-toting, heavy
fisted Georgina and the lissome Rose Early. Emma Finlay doubles
Violet and the sinister cauldron-stirring Meg (anyone for an eye of
newt and toe of frog supper after the show?). All five play various
instruments, sing and dance to one of Whymark's delicately send-up
pastiche scores. Hilarious.