Agatha Crusty & the Pantomime Murders
by Derek Webb
26th to 29th February 2020
Crime novelist and amateur detective, Agatha Crusty (pronounced ‘croosty’), arrives in the town of Giglinton where she is about to participate in its annual Book Festival. However on arrival at Giglinton Hall, she is met by Alan Wilde, Stage Manager for the local amateur dramatic group, who tells her she is a week early: the Book Festival doesn't start until the following week and the hall is about to be used for rehearsals of the group's production of Peter Pan.
Agatha decides to stay on anyway and meets the other members of Giglinton Players, ready to start rehearsal. Sadly these are cut short when Emily (who plays Peter Pan) falls from her flying harness and is killed. The police believe it to be an accident as they do another death which occurs shortly afterwards, when Jack, an actor who helped with the flying rig, also dies falling from a ladder when adjusting theatre lamps.
Agatha however is convinced that the deaths are not accidents, and believes them to be connected, something born out when a third member of the group dies: Alan, the Stage Manager, is found suffocated in the props cupboard. And, in each case, there are clues that suggest a reference to a pantomime: Peter Pan, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Aladdin.
Not long after, there is an attempted murder on the Director, Jessica. The police at last accept that they are dealing with murders, not accidents, and – thanks to information supplied by a member of the group – they make an arrest. But it is not a decision which Agatha accepts and she sets out to prove who the real murderer is.
Of course, being an Agatha Crusty murder mystery, there are laughs a plenty as the bodies pile up but this is also a genuine mystery with an ingenious plot to tax the little grey cells of the audience at the same time.
Agatha Crusty : Carolyn Cravenk
Alan Wilde : Lee Sharratt
Nick Angel : Matthew Jones
Jessica Price : Louise Blackburn
Tracey Tyler : Leah Hamilton/Stacey Thompson
Juliet Phillips : Emma McGrath
Gloria Bennett : Elaine Jackson
Jack Bradley : Matt Hills
Emily Lewis : Georgina Rushworth
Anton deValera : Richard Hunt
Sue Watson-Moore : June Williamson
Police Officer : Bryan Craven