Saturday, November 1st, 2014

A SECRET life will soon be exposed at a funeral and the bombshell will cause tempers – and ashes – to fly.

It’s all part of Melville Theatre’s latest production Wife After Death, written by Eric Chappell and directed by Joan Scafe.

Set at the funeral of successful television comedian Dave Thursby, his friends and family soon discover they know less about him than they imagined.

A series of revelations uncover some home truths while everyone tries to keep up appearances for the sake of his widow – and then an unexpected and unexplained mourner arrives.

Playwright Eric Chappell is an English comedy writer who wrote several of the UK's biggest sitcom hits during the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s, including The Squirrels, Rising Damp, Only When I Laugh, The Bounder, Duty Free, Singles, Haggard and Home to Roost.

Scafe was attracted to the play after reading a summary and buying the script.

“The fact that Tom Conti played the lead in England could also have influenced me because I have been an admirer of his work since the days of The Glittering Prizes and The Norman Conquests,” she said.

Wife After Death focuses on what will be revealed by the stranger who turns up out of blue and the script ultimately looks at whether we truly know anyone.”

Initially performing while at school in the UK, Scafe has more than 35 years’ theatre experience in WA after she first took to the stage in a Murdoch University production of The Bacchae at Dolphin Theatre in 1977.

She appeared in Melville Theatre’s inaugural show Not Now Darling in 1982 and has appeared in a plethora of plays since – and was nominated for best actress for her role in Three Tall Women at the 2009 Finley Awards.

More recently, Scafe has appeared in Calendar Girls at Garrick Theatre and On Golden Pond at Harbour Theatre.

With Wife After Death, she believes her main challenge is the minimal number of stage directions in the script.

“I have to ensure I inject movement for the actors otherwise it could be a very static play,” Scafe said.

“I also need to get over to my cast that pauses, gestures and facial expressions need to be spot on to enhance the text.

“It’s a sparkling comedy that needs the right nuances as the events unfold during the funeral.”

Wife After Death plays at 8pm, November 21, 22, 27, 28, 29, December 4, 5 and 6 with a 2pm matinee November 30. Tickets are $20, $15 concession – book on (08) 9330 4565 or at

Melville Theatre is on the corner of Stock Road and Canning Highway, Palmyra.




WAD1: Tatiana Dalin, left, Andrew O’Connell, Jennifer McGrath, Sharon Menzies and Peter Bloor are appearing in the comedy Wife After Death at Melville Theatre.

WAD2: Friends and family of the late Dave Thursby – played by Tatiana Dalin, left, Andrew O’Connell, Jennifer McGrath, Sharon Menzies and Peter Bloor – are in for a shock when the mysterious Kay (Andrea von Bertouch) arrives in Wife After Death.

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Melville Theatre

The Melville Theatre Company was the brainchild of David J. Burton who, in 1982, called a meeting for interested people in the community to form a theatre company in the Melville area.

As a result, the Melville Theatre Company was born. The newly formed company's first production was the farce, Not Now Darling. With its second production, The Sound of Music, the young company won the Finley Award for the Best Production of the Year in Community Theatre. Since then, actors and directors have consistently featured in the list of awards at the annual State Drama Festival, now known as Dramafest.

Initially, performances were in the Melville Civic Centre but, since 1987, the venue has been the Roy Edinger Centre, on the corner of Stock Road and Canning Highway, Palmyra.

Joan Scafe
P: 08 9330 4565


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