By Peter Cameron
All eight of us were looking forward to Agatha Christie's An Unexpected GuestÂ at the EPPiC Theatre inÂ Ecclesfield last week '“ two ageing pensioners, two sisters-in-law, a young newly-married couple and the bride's parents.
That was just us, not the cast!
The curtain rose to the immediate mystery of a seated figure, a shadowy woman holding a gun, and a strange man entering through the French-window.
It was soon clear that the seated figure was the woman's murdered husband, but several more suspects gradually appeared: the self-confident mother of the victim, who was clearly aware of her son's failings; his shifty, untrustworthy man-servant; the long-serving and long-suffering housekeeper; the wife's lover whose every expression and raised eyebrow oozed guilt, and finally, the naive, simple-minded, but resentful and volatile younger brother.
The interval provided a much-needed opportunity to argue '˜whodunnit,'Â yet all but two of us predicted different culprits.
The two investigators then took centre-stage for the second half as the ingenious script wildly swung our suspicions until the final twist.
The acting was superb, the pace electric and the characters utterly convincing. When's the next Ecclesfield Priory PlayersÂ production??
An Unexpected Guest ran at the EPPiC Theatre, on Well Lane in Ecclesfield, from October 9 to 13.Â Â The EPPic Theatre is owned and managed by Ecclesfield Priory Players, an amateur group which was founded in 1932. The group presentsÂ three productions each year. The next event on the theatre's agenda is the EPPiC Autumn Bazaar, which runs from 10am to 12 noon on Saturday November 3 in the upstairs lounge.Â There will be toys, games, nearly new clothing, bric-a-brac, Christmas gifts, books,Â cakes and refreshments. Entrance isÂ 50p.