Broadstone Players Theatre Company,
Broadstone Memorial Hall, 20 November
Review by Marilyn Barber
I was so excited when I discovered that Peter Gordon had written a prequel to the Inspector Pratt trilogy – Murdered to Death, Secondary Cause of Death and Death by Fatal Murder.
Some years ago, the late John Pemble, a member of the Players for more than 50 years, played Inspector Pratt with such skill that I and the rest of the audience were helpless with laughter.
This production would have a lot to live up to.
Peter Gordon so missed the character that he wrote this new play set earlier in the career of the most confused police officer in England, when Pratt was still a sergeant, as inept and full of malapropisms as ever.
The play introduces all the other characters before the arrival of Pratt and his police constable.
There is Sir Walton Gates, played with appropriate vagueness by Andrew Murton, and his second wife Grace, which gives Alyssa Thompson the chance to be haughty, cold and superior.
It is good to see Jenny Hughes back on the Broadstone stage. She is a fine actress who specialises in quirky and irascible characters and she is superb as the Scottish secretary Morag McKay.
Just 17 years of age, Alicia Needham absolutely nails it as daughter Emma who struggles to pronounce the letter R. The play is set in the 1930s which she says is a time she knows nothing about, but she absolutely encapsulated the spoilt, wealthy offspring so often portrayed in Noel Coward plays.
Chris Kemp, who was in two of the one-act plays in September, is growing in confidence on the stage, and he puts in a good performance as the Australian Archie Gates. James Washington, the sixth person in the house, is convincing as her guest James Washington.
Enter Pratt and Constable Potter who have arrived to put on a magic show to raise fund for a police charity. Really? What could possibly go wrong!
Well just about everything.
Pratt is a genius of a part, and a massive one at that, as director Mar Godfrey counted up his lines and found they make up a quarter of the entire play.
Kevin Sissons is returning to the stage after a 30-year gap – where have you been, the am-dram stage has missed you? He gives such a polished and hilarious performance that is a real audience pleaser. As does Cheryl Connor, as Constable Potter -resplendent in Angel costume – who is not as giddy as she first appears.
If you want to go home from a play with a big smile on your face, try to get a ticket from Broadstone News, Wimborne TIC or 01202 678449 as it runs until Saturday.