Whodunnit mystery comedy staged at Swaffham

Members of the Theatre of Stanley's House community theatre group at Swaffham
Members of the Theatre of Stanley's House community theatre group at Swaffham
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A mystery comedy, with many twists and turns, is the new production for Theatre of Stanley’s House company (TOSH) at Swaffham.

Murder Afoot! by Knut Naerum, opened last night at Stanleys in Lynn Street, Swaffham, and continues tonight and Saturday at 7.30pm, with the final performance on Sunday at 2.30pm which also includes afternoon tea.

Dark clouds are gathering over The Arches, the stately mansion of brash, larger-than-life shoe millionaire Titus Platt. A peevish son, Malcolm is hard up for money after living large and his ex-fiancée, a pregnant French nightclub singer, is bound to cause problems.

Malcolm’s ditzy sister Penny is about to marry Thomas Tottering, the upstart vice-president of Platt Shoes Limited. Meanwhile, Mr Platt’s personal secretary, Hedda Noble, and the stern housekeeper Miss Grimlish disagree about the future prospects of Livia, the maid, of whom Miss Grimlish is mysteriously protective.

When a notorious gentleman thief The Black Fox forcefully announces his intention to steal Platt’s precious golden Etruscan dagger, Platt calls the police.

Livia spills the beans to the rest of the staff that The Black Fox is on his way. Mistakenly, but understandably, all fear for their lives and, except for Livia, resign immediately. The chauffeur leaves too, and is replaced, perhaps rather too swiftly, by the intrepid Dick Drake.

Soon Inspector Bullock arrives to thwart The Fox’s plans. During a thunderstorm in the night, Titus Platt is found murdered ... leaving a dying clue in the form of two chess pieces.

The investigation comes to a head when a second Inspector Bullock turns up, bound and gagged, accusing the first of being a fraud.

It appears that virtually everyone,Malcolm, Penny, Thomas, Livia, Miss Grimlish and even the new chauffeur, had a motive to kill Platt.

False identities abound and, during the reading of Titus’ will, some rather murky secrets of the past are revealed. Before dawn, another murder is committed and The Etruscan dagger disappears twice.

Tickets are £8 for the evening performances and £15 for the Sunday matinee, available from Vicky on 01760 336006 or the Horse and Groom, Swaffham.