A Murder Is Announced

Written by Agatha Christie / Adapted for the stage by Leslie Darbon

Directed by John Major

Performed on Thursday 15 June - Saturday 17 June 2006 at Pentyrch Village Hall.


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The small town of Chipping Cleghorn are agog with curiosity and excitement by the following announcement in the local Gazette on Friday, 13 October:

 "A murder is announced and will take place on Friday, October 13, at Little Paddocks, at 6:30 p.m. Friends please accept this, the only intimation".

 At Little Paddocks, everyone is wondering who placed this advert. Letitia Blacklock thinks that someone living with her has done this for a joke. But when, at 6:30pm, the lights go out and a man enters the room before apparently firing three gunshots and then ending up dead, whilst injuring Miss Blacklock in the process, it seems anything other than a joke. What then follows is a classic Christie puzzle of mixed motives, concealed identities, a second death, a determined Inspector grimly following the twists and turns, and Miss Marple on hand to provide the final solution at some risk to herself in a dramatic confrontation scene just before the final curtain.

NODA Review of 'A Murder is Announced'

Agatha Christie, always a good night out and this production was no exception. I didn’t know the play at all, so I was really looking at it with “fresh eyes”. John Major should be very proud of his first attempt at a Director and I hope for the company that he goes on to direct a few more productions.

 Imagine the shock as a murder was advertised to happen in your home. Along with the shock, horrors and the visit from nosey neighbours, a stroppy maid was no surprise as we were introduced to the somewhat complicated domestic arrangements, in the “blacklock!” household. Quite a crowd gathered to wait for the murder to happen. A classic Agatha Christie, with any numbers of suspects, a well woven plot, and a few red herrings for good measures. Jackie Hurley played Miss Marple perfectly with the right measures of gentle support for the family, whilst observing their every move and of course identifying our culprit. Siān Davies as Lettitia or should I say Charlotte played her part with the strength of character it would have taken to control the  house, plot the murder and keep poor confused Bunny (Heather Major) under control. A good supporting cast. Tracy Richards, Siān Major and Richard Jones all helping to confuse the situation, with complicated family arrangements and troubled lives. The fiery maid Mitzi played by Karen Claridge gave a lively cameo performance bringing humour into the plot. The evening over, our valiant policeman (Dai Williams and Martyn Lench) got their “man” and cleared up all those clues that I had failed to pick up through the play.

 The set and costume whisked us right back into the 50’s with the kind of attention to detail that is to effective, creating a bygone age a lot us remember as children. A good lighting plot and sound effects made this a marvellous evening of theatre. A jolly good yarn.

 Reviewed by Cheryl O’Brien on behalf of Frank Wooles


Julia Simmons                            Siān Major

Letitia Blacklock                         Siān Davies

Dora Bunner                                Heather Major

Patrick Simmons                        Richard Jones

Mitzi                                               Karen Claridge

Miss Marple                                 Jackie Hurley

Phillipa Haymes                         Tracy Richards

Mrs Swettenham                        Sue O'Halloran

Edmund Swettenham               Rhys Stapleton

Rudi Scherz                                Martyn Lench

Inspector Craddock                  Dai Williams

Seargant Mellors                        Martyn Lench


Production Team


Producer and Director              John Major


Assistant Director                      Anne Morris


Continuity                                    Helen Page


Stage Manager                           Wayne Brewer


Assistant Stage Manager        Raynor Phinnemore


Properties                                   Raynor Phinnemore


Set Design/Construction        Wayne Brewer, Raynor Phinnemore, Josh Cripp


Lighting                                       Alan Blakoe


Sound                                          Wayne Brewer


Costume                                     Jan Stapleton


Business Manager                   Bob Petersen


Front of House Manager        Bob Petersen


Front of House                          Members & friends of Hilltop


Bar Manager                              Hayley Major, Chris Davidson


Box Office                                  Brenda Slaughter.