Whodunnit by Anthony Shaffer

Whodunnit by Anthony Shaffer was performed by Banbury Cross Players in May 2013 at The Mill Arts Centre. (click the photo below for more)

The Cast

Archibald Perkins (The Butler) – Nik Lester
Andreas Capodistriou (An Oily Levantine) – Philip Fine
Silas Bazeby (A Respectable Family Lawyer) – John McCormick
Rear Admiral Knatchbull Folliatt (An Old Sea Dog) – Andy Alien
Lady Charlotte Tremurrain (A Dofty Aristocrat) – Patricia Lee
Roger Dashwell (A Black Sheep) – Peter Griffiths
Lavinia Hargreaves (A Sweet Young Thing) – Tara Lacey
Dame Edith Runcible (An Eccentric Archaeologist) – Ann Westcott
Chief Inspector Bowden (An Unconventionel Yard Detective) – Tim Manning
Sergeant Standish (A Stolid Copper) – Jem Turner
Directed by Andy Crump

The Plot

Whodunnit? is a comedy / mystery play. The first act follows the traditional conventions of a country house mystery with an assortment of suspects, but in the second act nobody is truly what they seem.

Act 1
A collection of characters apparently drawn directly from old English detective fiction arrive for a party in an old country house. Among them there is an old Navy man, a ditzy woman, and a flamboyantly eccentric butler who keeps trying to serve up his own cocktail creation, the “Zombie Whammy”. There is also Andreas Capodistriou, a smooth talking serpent of a man who demonstrates to each guest in turn that he knows something compromising about them and is intent on blackmailing each one.

The act climaxes as each guest, having a reason to want Capodistriou dead, conceals his or her self on the set to lie in wait for the victim, who arrives alone and kneels to perform his evening prayer. As he does so, a collection of sword-wielding hands appear around him. One blade falls, removing his head, and the curtain falls.

Act 2
The act opens on an incongruous scene. Policemen in modern dress mingle with the archaically dressed guests. They are investigating the murder that ended the first act. The old Navy man sneezes and loses his fake mustache in the process. He reveals that he is actually an actor, and was hired to participate in a role-playing party for the house’s owner, who would act as detective and solve the mystery. It transpires that all of the “guests”, and the butler, are also hired actors. The entire affair has been orchestrated in order to murder the man who played “Capodistriou”. This in turn is revealed to be Gerry Marshall, a theatrical agent who held the contracts of all the actors except the one playing the host, with whom he had a different relationship. Each actor hated Marshall, but all deny knowing it was him playing Capodistriou. The organizer of the party was apparently Marshall himself. It is up to Inspector Bowden to unravel the tangle of relationships, real and unreal, to unmask the killer.