Good but doesn’t quite jell

Townsville Bulletin - - CLASSIFIEDS - IN THE SPIRIT OF MUR­DER Re­view by RAY DICK­SON

THE pro­gram notes tell us Teri Galea- Thorne’s orig­i­nal idea for her play In the Spirit of Mur­der was to cre­ate a sim­ple mur­der- mys­tery.

Over time, the script has trans­formed into what can only be de­scribed as a mur­der- mys­tery/ farce.

It is an un­usual com­bi­na­tion and in this case the gen­res are not a nat­u­ral mix. The story con­cerns the dys­func­tional Van Rooken fam­ily.

Pa­tri­arch Al­bert ( Eric Blyth) has bought a new house for his wife Estelle ( Kaye Hinds), with­out her knowl­edge, in an at­tempt to rein­vent his life and ex­tin­guish his per­haps imag­ined fears that she had an af­fair with their pre­vi­ous next door neigh­bour some years be­fore.

He has in­vited his daugh­ter Claire ( Jac­inta Ryan in an­other pol­ished per­for­mance) and her ex- po­lice of­fi­cer hus­band Damien ( David BrookeTay­lor) to join them for the re­veal­ing of the new house and the dis­clo­sure to his wife of what he has done.

He has cer­tainly not in­vited his es­tranged, trou­bled younger daugh­ter Ruby ( Rylie Hansen in a stand- out per­for­mance), but she is al­ready there when the cou­ples ar­rive as her no- good, sex starved, crim­i­nal ac­quain­tance Stan­ley ( Damien Mos­ton) has co­in­ci­den­tally cho­sen this very house to bur­gle and at the same time use the op­por­tu­nity to at­tempt to se­duce the youngest Van Rooken girl.

The sud­den ap­pear­ance of the body of an un­known mur­der vic­tim sets every­one off on a mad­cap es­capade. Add the fact that both the at­tached cou­ples are hav­ing “mar­i­tal re­la­tions” dif­fi­cul­ties and the op­por- tu­nity for high farce is cre­ated. Un­for­tu­nately there were prob­lems with un­even and dis­jointed scenes some of which was caused by the un­for­giv­able sin of missed lines.

Also, some rather un­usual mu­sic se­lec­tions were un­doubt­edly sup­posed to add to the far­ci­cal el­e­ment but ended up be­ing quite dis­tract­ing.

Townsville Lit­tle The­atre has again had the au­thor di­rect her own play, as was the case with GaleaThorne’s de­but pro­duc­tion, Mur­der­ous Re­venge in 2016. In this case it could have been more ad­van­ta­geous to have used a di­rec­tor not in­ti­mately in­volved with the cre­ation of the script. It may have led to a much tighter pro­duc­tion.

The set is well de­signed with mul­ti­ple ex­its. Cos­tum­ing and lan­guage is con­tem­po­rary which doesn’t re­ally fit with the fact that not one char­ac­ter has a mo­bile phone.

Per­haps just as well as the plot would have been ru­ined if some­one had mag­i­cally pro­duced one.

There is un­doubt­edly a good script wait­ing to be fur­ther de­vel­oped by the play­wright, but it is not yet there.

How­ever the open­ing night au­di­ence thor­oughly en­joyed the com­edy and the sur­prise end­ing.

>> In the Spirit of Mur­der is at the Pim­lico Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre in Ful­ham Rd with per­for­mances on Fri­day and Satur­day at 7.30pm with a Satur­day mati­nee at 2pm. Tick­ets from $ 15 to

$ 25 are avail­able at the door.

FARCE: Ruby ( Rylie Hansen), Al­bert ( Eric Blyth) and Damien ( David Brooke- Tay­lor) per­form in

In the Spirit of Mur­der.

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