Mystery at Greenfingers
Written by: J B Priestley
Directed by: Eileen Rawlings
Performances: 21st –26th October 2019 at Jameson Road AND
16th November 2019 at The Palace Court Theatre
Re-creating the production with which Bournemouth Little Theatre Club became National Champions, performing at the Fortune Theatre, London on 18 January 1938.
A section of this production, involving all ten cast members, will be performed as part of the Centenary Celebrations back in “our theatre”. The play was specially written by J B Priestley to give all ten cast members the opportunity to display their acting skills.
A snowstorm traps a group of guests and crew into the Greenfingers Palace Hotel. A detective is sent to the hotel to investigate a top secret crime, but it is Miss Tracey and a new hostess who solve everything.
- Director: Eileen Rawlings
- Stage Manager/Stage Design: Glanville Noye
- Lighting Design: Alastair Griffith
- Wardrobe Mistress: Mo Hamill and Jill Amphlett
- Prompt: Lisa Marie Pledger
- Assistant Stage Manager: Cara Gumbrell
Dorset Theatre Reviews - Lyn Richell
This play was written by J B Priestley for an amateur competition run by ‘News Chronicle’ in 1937 which BLT won and performed at the Fortune Theatre, London in January 1938. It is being reproduced for BLT’s centenary year.
Priestley called this a ‘comedy of detection’. It is set in 1937 at the Greenfingers Palace Hotel where a small advance party of staff arrive early to get the hotel ready for the season. However they find themselves snowed in and telephone lines down. A surprise visitor arrives with her companion who then disappears. This leaves Detective Crowther with a mystery to solve.
My concern with this play is that it has not travelled well. What was excellent in 1937 is outdated in 2019. I also felt that it needed much more pace then the actors gave it. It seemed very slow. I also felt that the setting did not help the actors as they had to play around a table and chairs most of the time which meant some blocking and upstaging at times.
The costumes were mostly about right for the 1930’s as were the hairstyles but in some cases they seemed more appropriate for the 1940’s or even 1960’s.
Having said all that the cast worked their socks off and did their best with a sort of comedy/mystery.
The chef, Arnold Jordan, played by Adam Stoddart had a very odd accent which, I think, was meant to be French. Sally Phillips (Dionne Polychronopulos) and Clara Packer (Andrea Travers) were both excellent as Housemaids. Matthew Ellison played Robert Crowther really well and was delightfully, over the top! Everyone else embraced their roles and and did their upmost in difficult parts. However the outstanding performance of the evening, for me, was that of Nadine Ellison as Miss Tracey. She brought boundless energy, was full of mischief and sparkle.
The production runs for the rest of the week until Saturday 26th October at 7.45pm.
- CANCELLED: Saturday 21st March 2020, 7.45pm
The Improvised Play Company - Unpredictive Text
- CANCELLED: Monday 30th March to Saturday 4th April 2020, 7.45pm
Things I Know To Be True by Andrew Bovell
- CANCELLED: Tuesday 7th & Wednesday 8th April 2020, 8.00pm
ImpAct Theatre: Nightfall by Joanna Murray-Smith