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May 18 2013

Amanda Wilkins reviews the opening night of A Tomb with a View, performed by Meeching Amateur Dramatics, (MAD), at Meeching Hall in Newhaven - May 17/18, and May and 24/25 7.45pm...

When I read the plot of Norman Robbins' comedy thriller A Tomb With A View I thought I was in for another silly comedy thriller. How wrong I was.

This is a well written and well constructed play with more twists and turns than a corkscrew and you will never work out who the murderer is, so you have to wait till the end of the play to find out.

Garry Fowler has taken a break from treading the boards in Newhaven's excellent dramatic society to direct it and he has done this very well. It centres around the potty Tomb family who have gathered to listen to the reading of their eccentric father's will. This is where the danger lies as if any of the cast had overacted it would have been thoroughly boring.

But Garry directed them to play it straight and so you were hooked from the start. There is older brother, the mad scientist Lucien, played by Steve Wetherilt, who spends his time writing to the Prime Minister, younger brother Marcus who thinks he is Julius Caser and spends his time wearing a toga. Kieran Beale was very good in this part and believable. Mad sister Dora played by Kay Wetherilt likes poisoning people with her homemade wine and burying them in the flowerbeds. Strident Emily played by Lisa Turner is the sanest of the lot and man-mad sister Monica was a joy to watch as played by Donna Beard. The sinister solicitor is also well played by Lee Harris and you begin to wonder whose side he is on.,

Mandy Crnkovic looks very glamorous as Marcus' nurse Anne Franklin and Gill Veck is well cast as the long-suffering housekeeper Agatha Hammond.

Into this madhouse comes two outsiders, romantic author Freda Mountjoy played by Wendy Gostock and her secretary Peregrine Potter played by Edd Ginn who immediately becomes Monica's prey.

It was such a shame the audience was so sparse on the first night as it is a good evening's entertainment with people getting murdered left, right and centre.

Amanda Wilkins