review by Carol Waterkeyn | @CarolWater
The title of this play being performed by Ferndown Drama at the Barrington Theatre from 26-29 April was intriguing. Janine, Viewpoint’s editor, and I decided to go along on the first night so see if it lived up to our expectations.
Times are hard for the Scrubbs. Henry Scrubb, played superbly by Steve Hawker, is out of work. He answers a mysterious job advert in the paper that provides only a box number. Eventually Henry is interviewed in his home by the potential employer, James Franklyn (Lee Tilson) but before that he must get his wife out of their flat for the secret meeting. The wonderfully performed Dora, aka Jenny Sibley, finally goes out but his nosy and glamorous young neighbour, Janet (Kristy Dixon), pops in unexpectedly and sees Mr Franklyn.
Henry is offered the job. It commands a payment of £3,000 but the catch – he must murder James Franklyn who says he is terminally ill. Henry is shocked and refuses.
However, Franklyn is later murdered, achieving his wish. Henry becomes the main suspect but professes his innocence to Detective Sergeant Thatcher (convincingly played by Chaz Davenport), although withholds some information about the earlier exchange between the two men, fearing it might incriminate him.
Dora, Henry’s wife, tries to get him to be honest about what really happened. She also learns about two other potential suspects who had answered the original advert. One is out of the country, but the other is the disreputable Fred Pender (acted by Richard Harker) who later appears in Fred and Dora’s flat.
Rita Franklyn, wife of the deceased, also turns up and is under suspicion of killing her husband. In true ‘whodunit’ tradition, it’s hard to work out who the real culprit is and kept us guessing to the end.
Directed by Paul Marcus, although an amateur production, the acting throughout was highly professional and the characters totally believable. We enjoyed it immensely and at times it really did make us laugh out loud.
The play, written by Derek Benfield, runs until 29 April. Tickets are £8.50 and are available from the box office on 01202 894858.