BEXHIL Amateur Theatrical Society’s (BATS) latest offering to theatre-goers,
Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime, was to all intents and purposes a Victorian murder mystery comedic farce; minus an actual murder.
The local am dram company chose a new venue for this production, The Sanctuary, formerly St John’s Church.
Anyone who may have had doubts about the setting would have been pleasantly surprised.
The former church was warm and inviting, the pews with padded seats were comfortable and gave spectators a pew with a view.
A brilliantly designed authentic set, period costumes befitting the Victorian era, subtle lighting, and a perfectly timed musical score provided an atmospheric setting which drew the audience in.
Constance Cox’s amusing adaptation of the Oscar Wilde version of Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime was expertly directed by BATS newcomer Mike Poole, and kept the audience guessing throughout.
The play begins when an impending marriage between Lord Arthur Savile (Carey Poole) and bride-to-be Sybil Merton (Fleur Sayers) is scuppered as Sybil’s snooty mother, Lady Julia Merton (Meryl Beamont) arrives with cheiromantist Mr Podgers (Anthony Lusted).
Lady Julia insists that Mr Podgers reads Lord Arthur’s palm to see if he is the man he claims to be and if he will be true to her daughter.
All appears well but Lord Arthur notices Mr Podgers hesitate as he reads his palm.
When they are alone Mr Podgers reveals that Lord Arthur will commit murder.
Horrified, Lord Arthur deduces that if he commits the predicted murder prior to his marriage that all will be well.
Taking the butler, Baines (Ian Saxton) into his confidence and explaining his dilemma they choose a victim, Lord Arthur’s ageing Aunt, Lady Windermere (Clare Sayers).
Joining them in their quest was anarchist Herr Winklekopft (Arthur Kelly) and there then ensues many failed attempts on the unsuspecting aunt, with hilarious results.
Faultlessly cast with a mix of new and familiar faces, the actors gave it their all and kept the energy levels high throughout.
With perfect comic timing and not a prompt in sight hats off to BATS for a first-rate production.