Spider’s Web Hebden Bridge Little Theatre
By Simon Wilkinson
When diplomat’s wife Clarissa Hailsham-Brown discovers a body in her drawing room, she enlists friends to dispose of the dead man before her husband arrives home with his VIP guests.
Having received an anonymous phone call about the dead man, the police are soon on the doorstep and, though there’s no sign of a corpse, they set about uncovering the truth.
Unfortunately Clarissa, played convincingly by Gill Leatherbarrow, is a fantasist who bends and twists the truth. Inevitably, all is not as it seems among the house guests.
The police inspector finds himself sifting through more red herrings than a Siberian fishmonger as he starts to unravel Clarissa’s deceitful web.
This is a strange amalgam of thriller with a hint of farce from crime-queen Agatha Christie. There are hilarious moments but overall Agatha sticks to her trusty formula of death, deceit and double-dealing. Looking back, Christie seasons her play with clues pointing to murderer and motive.
I missed most of them but if you’re not as dim as me you’ll probably pick them out.
There were some hiccups on opening night and it was a pity that occasional prompting interrupted the play’s rhythm.
An authentic setting and performances from Mark Hill (Jeremy Warrender), Sheila Hansford (Mildred Peake) and Nick Turner as Inspector Lord made this an enjoyable production.
One to watch out for is young Emily Hought, who delivered a faultless performance in the key role of Clarissa’s stepdaughter Pippa.