show
The Maskers' Studio Theatre

20th - 25rd May 2024

at 7:30pm.

Telephone bookings 0333 666 3366

This amateur production of “Murder in the Studio” is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals Ltd. on behalf of Samuel French Ltd. www.concordtheatricals.co.uk

Parental Guidance advised.

'Three great radio plays in one evening!'

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The Reviews

Scene1+

20 May 2024

Just to state from the outset, I really enjoyed these 3 plays as presented by a sterling cast of 17, each delivering a very believable scenario. All are to be congratulated on a cohesive and ultimately very entertaining evening.

The nature of the production means I cannot elaborate too much on individual performances for fear of perhaps “spoilers” for people already having booked and those I would encourage to book! So this review is slightly shorter for that reason, but no less a reflection on the quality entertainment provided.

The word “killing” stands out particularly for me: in fact, the whole of that segment from the speech of the wife who fills her life with buying things to make up for her husband’s philandering to the quite horrifying “Esther” revelation had this reviewer on the edge of his seat. I liked how an elegantly dressed Fay was removed from the authentic set of microphones (such attention to detail throughout) emphasising her perhaps ethereal presence and the pronunciation of Pauline (‘line’ not ‘lean’). All the accents were very well done with excellent diction throughout, especially as some cast played multiple roles throughout the 3 plays. It is interesting to realise that the “telephone” played just as prominent a place in people’s lives way back, realising it is not just a current phenomenon.

I can talk about Rob Iliffe being a perfect Poirot; his accent was so good and not the least “Allo Allo” in any respect. He brought the character to life so well, you didn’t need the trademark moustache although the use of the cane was a nice touch despite being unseen by the supposed listening audience.

In fact, all the cast were at the top of their game. The odd twirling of beads, a fiddle with a glove, an adjustment of the tie, all were so subtle but brilliant.

Directed with flair by Anna Hussey and Jenni Prior, each play has you hooked from the start. Whilst Personal Call had an ambiguous ending, the other two had a start and an end that were very satisfying. I liked the basic costume by Clare Britton and Lucy Lockyer of essentially black and white with then added period pieces be it jewellery or an apron, headset, or jacket just to please a watching audience. It also made it clear this was a radio performance made in the time of the settings.

Lighting and set design fully complimented everything that was happening on stage.

The other fascinating aspect was watching how all the sounds were done. The rattle of a cup, and pouring of tea were spot on and so professionally done. Combined with excellent sound effects (the train particularly) it was clear the team had great fun in assembling all the required elements including the sound of a lock being turned and background chatter. I am so glad that was visual for everyone to see how that coordinated with the lines read by the characters.

If you like your murder mystery this is a perfect way to enjoy this continued fascination of the macabre. I would go so far as to say “more please”.  Murder in the Studio plays until Saturday May 25th

- David A Putley

Three murderers, one detective and plenty of mysteries - will the villain be stopped in time; does the punishment fit the crime?

Maskers presents three murder mystery radio plays for a studio audience, written by the Queen of Crime herself Agatha Christie, set across several decades from 1930s to 1950s, the running theme is a mysterious phone call, and of course a murder!

Featuring Personal Call, in which James Brent is haunted by his dead wife starting with a mysterious telephone call, can she really be calling from beyond the grave; Yellow Iris, in which Hercule Poirot finds himself in the middle of an old unsolved murder case when called to attend the hotel Jardin des Cygnes – can he solve the mystery of the unusual death before someone else is hurt; and Butter in a Lordly Dish, in which we find out if vengeance really is a dish best served cold, and debate about the meaning of justice.

A game is afoot, the call has been made, the players are in play - let the murders begin!

Director & Cast

The Directors of this production are Anna Hussey & Jenni Prior
Anna joined Maskers in 2018 and has been involved both on and off stage. Debuting in Wyrd Sisters as part of the ensemble, Anna has since played Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing and originated the role of Vicki in Yards Apart. In 2023, Anna first directed for Maskers with Gormenghast and has now taken up the role of Productions Director.
Jenni joined Maskers in November 2023 for Almost Maine, and has a long history of acting, directing and backstage roles before Maskers. Her favourite things to direct are murder mystery comedies, so Murder in the Studio is a bit of a departure from the norm but she has enjoyed the opportunity to do something different this time.

Personal Call
James is played by Matthew Meehan
Matthew is an actor, writer, and director who has performed all over the UK for over 25 years. His other interests include Poe, Lovecraft and Motorbikes.

Mary is played by Rachel Di Nucci
Rachel joined Maskers a couple of years ago and has been in a number of productions: Four Weddings and an Elvis, The Three Musketeers, Gormenghast, Jane Eyre. Recently, she branched out into an anthropomorphic role by playing the out of control washing machine in Cash on Delivery, for which In Common rated her an 11/10! This time she’s enjoying playing some bridge with James, Pam and Evan on what they plan to be an uneventful evening.

Pam is played by Maria Head
Maria has been a member of Maskers for some time and has played a wide variety of roles, including Goneril in King Lear, Mary Plunket in A Bunch of Amateurs and Mistress Meg Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Evan is played by Rob Iliffe
Rob apologises to any Belgians in the audience for his portrayal of Hercule Poirot. Rob has previously appeared for Maskers in Almost Maine and Jane Eyre.

Fay is played by Jane Russell
Jane was last seen playing Linda in Cash on Delivery and prior to that the eccentric Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit. Jane is delighted to be back performing at the Maskers Studio in something a little different from the norm: three radio plays, all with karma at the very heart. So just who is Fay and why is she so keen to meet her ex-husband?

Mrs. Lamb / Porter 2 is played by Dawn Gatrell
Dawn performed in pantos at The Bent Brief pub and in The Shadow Factory, which premiered at the Nuffield City Theatre before joining Maskers in August 2022. She has enjoyed playing a variety of different roles since then, most recently, the formidable Ms Cowper in the riotous comedy Cash on Delivery. She is excited to be performing in this unique presentation of radio plays.

Porter 1 is played by Paul Baker
Paul has been in over twenty-five shows in the open air for Maskers and rarely ventures indoors. During that time he has played a variety of roles including Weasel Norman in Wind in the Willows and Thomas Cromwell in Anne Boleyn and often multiple parts in the same production as evidenced when he played four different characters in The Three Musketeers. This is Paul’s fourth production in a row inside, having previously played Sepulchrave in Gormenghast, Chris Kriegle, the Santa Burglar in Sorry, Wrong Chimney!, and most recently uncle George in Cash on Delivery.

Announcer / Operator is played by Meri Mackney
Meri has been a Masker for more years than she cares to remember and has been involved with many shows both on and off-stage. She most recently appeared in The Merry Wives of Windsor and her last production was Jane Eyre, which she adapted and directed.

Inspector is played by Chris Baker
Chris Baker has been a member of the company for many years, taking part in a variety of productions, both on and off stage. She manages our box office arrangements and generally assists with the company administration. She last appeared at the Studio as Helen in Out of Focus and is happy to be involved in this very different production.

Woman is played by Katusha Curtis
This is Katusha’s debut with Maskers. She has performed previously with RAODS but is delighted to find a theatre group closer to her home.

Woman 2 is played by Teo Rusu
Teo is really enjoying this first production with Maskers, and she hopes you will enjoy it, too.

Mr Enderby is played by Duncan Randall
Duncan started as a character actor at primary school and was involved in various community theatre groups. On moving to the south coast, he joined Titchfield Festival Theatre (TFT), before joining the Maskers for The Three Musketeers in 2022 playing Athos, amongst others. Since then, he has appeared in The Picture of Dorian Gray, Gormenghast, and Time and Tide, in which he played King Knut (among others) - typecast again!

Yellow Iris
Poriot is played by Rob Iliffe
Rob apologises to any Belgians in the audience for his portrayal of Hercule Poirot. Rob has previously appeared for Maskers in Almost Maine and Jane Eyre.

Señora Valdez is played by Katusha Curtis
This is Katusha’s debut with Maskers. She has performed previously with RAODS but is delighted to find a theatre group closer to her home.

Pauline is played by Teo Rusu
Teo is really enjoying this first production with Maskers, and she hopes you will enjoy it, too.

Chappell is played by Matthew Meehan
Matthew is an actor, writer, and director who has performed all over the UK for over 25 years. His other interests include Poe, Lovecraft and Motorbikes.

Russell is played by Duncan Randall
Duncan started as a character actor at primary school and was involved in various community theatre groups. On moving to the south coast, he joined Titchfield Festival Theatre (TFT), before joining the Maskers for The Three Musketeers in 2022 playing Athos, amongst others. Since then, he has appeared in The Picture of Dorian Gray, Gormenghast, and Time and Tide, in which he played King Knut (among others) - typecast again!

Carter is played by Paul Baker
Paul has been in over twenty-five shows in the open air for Maskers and rarely ventures indoors. During that time he has played a variety of roles including Weasel Norman in Wind in the Willows and Thomas Cromwell in Anne Boleyn and often multiple parts in the same production as evidenced when he played four different characters in The Three Musketeers. This is Paul’s fourth production in a row inside, having previously played Sepulchrave in Gormenghast, Chris Kriegle, the Santa Burglar in Sorry, Wrong Chimney!, and most recently uncle George in Cash on Delivery.

Waiter is played by Chris Baker
Chris Baker has been a member of the company for many years, taking part in a variety of productions, both on and off stage. She manages our box office arrangements and generally assists with the company administration. She last appeared at the Studio as Helen in Out of Focus and is happy to be involved in this very different production.

Cloakroom Attendant / Compere is played by Dawn Gatrell
Dawn performed in pantos at The Bent Brief pub and in The Shadow Factory, which premiered at the Nuffield City Theatre before joining Maskers in August 2022. She has enjoyed playing a variety of different roles since then, most recently, the formidable Ms Cowper in the riotous comedy Cash on Delivery. She is excited to be performing in this unique presentation of radio plays.

Butter in a Lordly Dish
Sir Luke is played by Duncan Randall
Duncan started as a character actor at primary school and was involved in various community theatre groups. On moving to the south coast, he joined Titchfield Festival Theatre (TFT), before joining the Maskers for The Three Musketeers in 2022 playing Athos, amongst others. Since then, he has appeared in The Picture of Dorian Gray, Gormenghast, and Time and Tide, in which he played King Knut (among others) - typecast again!

Marion is played by Lucy Lockyer
Lucy joined Maskers in 2023 and has been involved ‘behind the scenes’, on several plays. She has acted in several amateur theatre companies in the past, in a wide variety of roles and genres, and has attended acting workshops, run by The Nuffield Theatre and elsewhere. She is delighted to be in her first acting role with The Maskers. As a former hospital radio presenter, she simply couldn’t resist the chance to be in this radio play! Besides theatre and radio interests, Lucy is a keen writer, graphic designer and illustrator.

Susan is played by Katy de Haviland
Katy began acting in the Midlands as a child, going on to study Drama and Performing Arts at college before joining her local theatre company.  After a 20-year break she joined Maskers last year and played the role of Elvira in Blithe Spirit. She is looking forward to playing Susan Warren in Murder in the Studio this month.

Hayward is played by Paul Baker
Paul has been in over twenty-five shows in the open air for Maskers and rarely ventures indoors. During that time he has played a variety of roles including Weasel Norman in Wind in the Willows and Thomas Cromwell in Anne Boleyn and often multiple parts in the same production as evidenced when he played four different characters in The Three Musketeers. This is Paul’s fourth production in a row inside, having previously played Sepulchrave in Gormenghast, Chris Kriegle, the Santa Burglar in Sorry, Wrong Chimney!, and most recently uncle George in Cash on Delivery.

Julia is played by Tash Priddle
Tash joined Maskers earlier this year when she played a mad Brenda Dixon in Cash on Delivery. This will be Tash’s second role with the company, and she is looking forward to showing a different type of ‘mad’. Tash will also be in Romeo & Juliet in the summer. 

Mrs Petter is played by Jill Desborough
Jill has been involved with many shows in a variety of roles, both on and off stage. Acting credits have included: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Sharks in the Custard, Much Ado About Nothing, Christmas with the CratchitsThe Picture of Dorian Gray, and most recently, Almost, Maine.

Florrie is played by Molly McDade
This is Molly’s first Agatha Christie, and the first time acting as a foley artist for a play. Her most recent roles with Maskers Theatre were Prunesquallor in Gormenghast, and Martha in Christmas with the Cratchits, and she is looking forward to brushing up on her cockney accent once again! 

Porter is played by Dawn Gatrell
Dawn performed in pantos at The Bent Brief pub and in The Shadow Factory, which premiered at the Nuffield City Theatre before joining Maskers in August 2022. She has enjoyed playing a variety of different roles since then, most recently, the formidable Ms Cowper in the riotous comedy Cash on Delivery. She is excited to be performing in this unique presentation of radio plays.

Creative Team

Production Manager
Maria McKay
Stage Manager
Donald Coe
Set Design
Anna Hussey, Jenni Prior, Clive Weeks
Set Construction
Clive Weeks & Donald Coe
Set Dressing
Angela Stansbridge
Lighting Design
Clive Weeks
Sound Design
Jamie McCarthy
Lighting Operator
Donald Coe
Sound Operator
Emily Smith, Ashley Martin
Wardrobe & Costumes
Clare Britton & Lucy Lockyer
Properties
Angela Stansbridge & Lucy Lockyer
Show Photography
Clive Weeks
Poster Design
Anna Hussey

Ticket Information

Tickets £14

No concessions

Customers are requested to arrive promptly as late comers cannot be admitted.

On arrival at the Masker’s Studio

  • Please give your name (or the name the tickets were booked under) to our Box Office receptionist, and they will confirm your booking.
  • If you have pre-ordered a programme you will be given it on arrival. Programmes will also be available for purchase from a FOH member.
  • For the safety of all our audience members and staff are still operating some Covid risk reduction actions.  Please use the hand sanitising stations on arrival.  We will also be increasing the fresh air circulating throughout the venue.
  • Wearing of face coverings is optional.
  • Our bar will be open for purchases of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.  We would encourage you to pre-order your interval drinks, to assist our bar staff and reduce crowding at the bar.
  • We are now able to take, and prefer, card payments but can also take cash.

During your visit

  • A stairlift and disabled toilet facilities are available.
  • Hand sanitiser will be available for your use at various points around the theatre building.
  • We have installed an extra extractor fan to vent studio air to the outside pulling fresh air in from the other side of the building.
  • Where possible windows will also remain open.  This may make the venue cooler than you are used to, so please be prepared.
  • Enhanced cleaning will take place throughout the venue before, and after the performance.
  • The taking of photographs or videos whilst the show is on is not permitted.

Exiting the building/event at the end of the performance

  • When leaving, please do not crowd the stairwell and allow everyone to leave easily and quickly.
  • As you go down the alleyway, please take extra care and keep to the marked footpath as the road is very uneven.
  • Please take any rubbish with you or leave it in the bins provided.

What if I have specific access needs?

  • The stair chair lift is available and our FOH staff will assist you should you need to use it.
  • Any other requirements may be discussed with our Box Office manager in advance of your arrival.

What happens if a show is cancelled?

  • If we are required to cancel a performance, we will offer you tickets for an alternative performance.

Poster, Flyer & Programme


Programme
Available after the performance

For the Maskers

Technical Manager:- Jamie McCarthy;   Lighting Consultant:- Clive Weeks;   Sound Consultant:- Jamie McCarthy;   Marketing Team:- Angela Stansbridge, Clive Weeks, Robert Osborne, Meri Mackney, Paul Baker;   Front of House & Box Office Manager:- Chris Baker;   Photographer:- Clive Weeks;   Bar Manager:- Meri Mackney
 
 
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Shirley's own LOCAL theatre!

Maskers Theatre Company
Off Emsworth Road
Shirley
Southampton
SO15 3LX

Registered Charity 900067

Established 1968

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