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Mystery at the heart of glorious whodunnit spoof

Tiptoe Through the Tombstones, Priory Theatre, July 11-21.

The curtains open to reveal a cobwebbed, run-down mansion...and you know immediately that this gathering of the last living members of the eccentric Tomb family is not going to end well.

Mortimer Crayle, a crusty old lawyer, and his secretary Zoe, have gathered the family together in Monument House, but as fog descends on the gloomy mansion, all is not what it seems.

The ethereal Octavia Tomb, played convincingly by Jo Beckett, is one of the first members of the family we are introduced to, and as she exchanges verbal blows with the officious Henrietta Tomb, played splendidly by Ruth Jones, we can see there is very little love lost in this family.

And after the arrival of the fab femme fatale, Fabia Tomb, played by Nicky Main, the family's sparring continues - and they meet their demise one by one, in a variety of macabre departures.

Despite the ever-increasing number of bodies, the comic element of the play is sustained admirably by Vernon Prewitt played by director Michael Brooks. His witty one-liners are delivered with perfect timing.

In this worthy sequel to the popular Tomb with a View, both written by Norman Robbins, we are left guessing right until the end, just who did the killing in order to grab the family fortune.

Tiptoe Through the Tombstones is indeed both an intriguing mystery and a glorious spoof.

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