Macabre, snappy play true to time

Roald Dahl's Lamb to the Slaughter
Playhouse Theatre
Thursday, March 16

The revolving stage with individual sets for living room, kitchen, dining room, bedroom and even a shop firmly locates the play in the 1950s, and post-war furniture includes the then-ubiquitous drinks trolley.

Early-arriving audience members are treated to hit-parade favourites from the likes of Buddy Holly and Doris Day.

When we meet pregnant, housewifely Mary Maloney, she’s in the shop buying vegetables, to go with a roast meal, and a special dessert.

If she appears just a little agitated, maybe that’s because her plans for the evening have been changed.

If, when she gets home, the living room is just a little disordered and there’s a body on the floor, obviously that’s because someone came in while she was out, and murdered her husband. Or is it? It certainly looks that way to the police when they arrive.

Anyway, it’s certainly enough to put you off your dinner.

This macabre little tale is presented by Suitcase Theatre in support of Stopping Violence Dunedin.

Adapted and directed by Laura Wells, it has a cast of eight. Especially impressive are Kimberley Buchan as Mary and Cheyne Jenkinson as Stan, the detective in charge of the case. They are well supported by Rose Collier, Ashley Stewart and Chris Cook as various police personnel, Denise Casey as the doctor, Sofie Welvaert as the photographer and Daniel McClymont as the unfortunate (and for most of the time, dead) Patrick.

Costumes by Welvaert are consistent with the period, and sound and lighting by Dylan Shield complement the action.

Short and snappy, this tasty little morsel of a production was among the Fringe Festival’s opening-night offerings and was enjoyed last evening by a near-capacity audience.