Tuesday, September 6th, 2011
THINGS are not always what they seem – as evidenced in the latest play from Limelight Theatre with its puzzle of scattered clues, mixed motives and concealed identities.

Written by Agatha Christie and directed by Sue Mainwaring, A Murder Is Announced is set in an English country village house and features the famed amateur detective Miss Marple.

Featuring in 12 Agatha Christie books and 20 short stories, many have been adapted for television, radio and film with Angela Lansbury, Gracie Fields, Margaret Rutherford, Joan Hickson and June Whitfield playing the elderly spinster.

In A Murder Is Announced, a killing is advertised in the local paper with the location – and people turn up, waiting for the crime to unfold.

Miss Marple arrives after the murder occurs and attempts to solve “whodunit” with the local police inspector.

Mainwaring – who also plays the role of Miss Marple – wanted to direct an Agatha Christie play because she is “timelessly English”.

“She incorporates sub-plots and twists and turns into her stories, which inevitably feature quirky country eccentrics,” she said.

“The story then unravels and is eventually brought together and re-wound by her sleuthing abilities.

“Each story is completely different but skilfully and intricately written with humour.”

Featuring a large cast of different ages, A Murder Is Announced has a healthy mix of young people and older characters, necessary for the plot.

“One of the challenges of a large cast is creating a balance, especially when strong middle-to-upper class accents are required and have to be maintained throughout the play,” Mainwaring said.

“Another task is creating two drawing rooms that have been made into one, using the usual furniture and Victoriana clutter, while having most of the actors on stage at the same time.”

Involved with Limelight Theatre for the past 15 years, Mainwaring is a theatre jack-of-all-trades having acted, directed, built sets and helped with costumes and properties, as well as serving a two-year stint as president.

She has won awards for best actor, best production and best set and has also produced Cats and Annie at the Regal Theatre, along with performances at the Playhouse and Mandurah Performing Arts Centre.

With A Murder Is Announced, Mainwaring is adamant people will be attracted to the well-told story.

“It will take you back in time to a period where life was, on the appearance, simple but with deeper intrigue,” she said. “It’s a completely different style from today’s hustle and bustle.

“Television has brought Miss Marple to the modern audience through its many recent re-makes, bringing out the intrigue and humour.”

Agatha Christie’s A Murder Is Announced plays at 8pm, September 29, 30, October 1, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14 and 15. Tickets are $19, $16 concession and $10 children.

Book on (08) 9571 8591 between 9am and midday, Monday to Friday, or online at www.limelighttheatre.com.

Limelight Theatre is located on Civic Drive, Wanneroo, Western Australia.

murder2: Miss Marple (Sue Mainwaring, right) looks for clues in A Murder Is Announced as tensions between brother and sister Patrick (Spencer Ford) and Julia (Ashlee Torrens) run high.

murder3: Miss Marple (Sue Mainwaring, centre) tries to find out whodunit in Agatha Christie’s A Murder Is Announced with Jason Pearce, Tymon Kidd and Spencer Ford.

murder4: Joining forces with Sergeant Mellors (Peter Boylen) and Inspector Craddock (David Nelson), Miss Marple (Sue Mainwaring, left) tries to solve the mystery in A Murder Is Announced.

murder5: Foreign housekeeper Mitzi (Alyssa Burton, left) is admonished by English spinster Letitia Blackmore (Karen Tropiano) as Miss Marple (Sue Mainwaring, right) tries to figure out whodunit.

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Limelight Theatre

The Limelight Theatre in Wanneroo, Western Australia, is the home of the Wanneroo Repertory Inc.
Sue Mainwaring
P: (08) 9571 8591
W: www.limelighttheatre.com


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