Bumbling inspector returns to spotlight

Waving a selection of weapons in a scene from the Taieri Dramatic Society’s production of Peter...
Waving a selection of weapons in a scene from the Taieri Dramatic Society’s production of Peter Gordon’s comedy-murder mystery Secondary Cause of Death are cast members (from left) Heidi Rixon (Captain Henrietta Woolmer-Cardington), Zach Hall (Count Puchlik of Puszczykowo), Maxine Sannum (Lady Isadora Pollock), Aimee Freeman (Nurse Ann Parsley) and Matt Brennan (Inspector Pratt). PHOTO: SUPPLIED
The bumbling Inspector Pratt returns to Mosgiel’s Fire Station Theatre this weekend, for another chaotic attempt at solving a murder in the Taieri Dramatic Society’s production of Peter Gordon’s comedy Secondary Cause of Death.

Also returning to helm the production are director Zac Henry and actor Matt Brennan, who once again takes up the role of the shambolic Inspector Pratt.

Henry is enjoying the process of directing Secondary Cause of Death — the sequel to last year’s successful production of Gordon’s Murdered to Death, which continues the misadventures of the incompetent inspector and the denizens of Bagshot House.

With the house now turned into a guest house, a murder mystery night is going well — until guests actually start dying. Enter the inspector to try to figure out which of the suspicious-seeming characters is the murderer.

Henry said the play continued Gordon’s comic parody of Agatha Christie murder mysteries, and had some similarities to Tom Stoppard’s one-act play The Real Inspector Hound.

"It’s really good to have Matt returning to the role of Inspector Pratt — he has the physicality and skill to bring out the comedy of the role on stage," Henry said.

In addition, John Rowe returns in the role of Colonel Charles Craddock, and Alison Ayers returns to the cast in the new role of Cynthia Maple. Remaining cast members include Maxine Sannum, Zach Hall, Heidi Rixon, Ella Coudret, Laura Wells and Aimee Freeman.

"I’m really pleased with my cast. We have a great mix of experienced and emerging actors, including people who have not performed at the Fire Station Theatre before," he said.

"The play is fast-moving and has farcical elements — such as people dashing in and out of doors — so everyone needs to be on the ball.

"It’s going really well so far."

In his second directing foray for the Taieri Dramatic Society, Henry has brought in some fellow members of his University of Otago theatre studies course to help out with stage management and lighting/sound operation.

"I have enjoyed working with them on this project, and to help acclimate them to the experience of working in a small theatre like ours.

"And the Fire Station Theatre committee have wrapped around us and have been an immense help."

The Fire Station Theatre is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, with plans under way for a special celebration event in October.

 - Peter Gordon’s Secondary Cause of Death will be staged at the Fire Station Theatre, 3 Cargill St, Mosgiel, from tomorrow to Sunday and July 28-30. Friday and Saturday performances at 7pm, with a 2pm Sunday matinee.