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Priory Theatre, Kenilworth, review: Prepare to Meet Thy Tomb

Prepare to Meet Thy Tomb, Priory Theatre, Kenilworth, to June 11.

Review by Ashley Hayward

Plays by Norman Robbins are always popular with amateur theatre groups and this one certainly doesn’t disappoint.

The script is a delicious combination of spoof and murder mystery, providing opportunities for over-the top acting, with larger than life characters who turn out to be not who they appear to be!

The play is set in the creepy old Monument House Hotel and Alternative Health Spa which contains as many secret passages as there are plot twists.

The business appears to have run into hard times as portrayed by the lack of books but plentiful cobwebs on the shelves.

The proprietors are Hercuba Tomb and her niece Drusilla who are actually from a well-established family of professional assassins!

They receive a number of uninvited guests, all of whom are interesting and intriguing characters. We meet the haughty and officious Sir Beverley Cornstock and his subservient and down-trodden PA Anthony Strickland.

We then get the arrival of the self-confident novelist Phillipa Collins along with her assistant Daphne who claim they need refuge having been followed by the notorious Norfolk Strangler.

The next arrival is the flamboyant TV personality and historian Quentin Danesworth, closely followed by a honeymooning couple, Robert Sandbrooke and his rather mousey bride Miranda.

Finally we meet Cicely Venner who supposedly has come to warn the family of the motives of the aforementioned Danesworth.

The inquisitive guests can’t resist snooping around, and just as they appear to be discovering some secret or other they fall victim to a range of violent deaths.

The play is in the best traditions of an Agatha Christie murder mystery. I always try to guess who the murderer is but with this plot, containing umpteen twists and turns, I must admit I failed with honours!

It's an enjoyable play and I’m sure it will improve further as the run continues, the actors increase in confidence, and their performances go even more ‘over-the top’.

Good fun!

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