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Spider’s Web

Floral Pavilion, New Brighton
25 – 30 May, 2009

Director: Joe Harmston
Producer: Agatha Christie Theatre Company with Bill Kenwright Entertainment
Cast Includes:  Melanie Gutteridge, Denis Lill, Catherine Shipton, Bruce Monatague, Ben Nealon, Robert Duncan, Karen Elliot, Michael Gabe, Lucas Hare, Matthew Hebden, Mark Rose
Running Time: 2 hers 30.

Promo image for 'Spider's Web'.

Floral Pavilion Website link

Agatha Christie’s  Spider’s Web was written in 1954 specifically with Margaret Lockwood in mind. As a result, with this production, it is easy to imagine some of the doyens of the silver screen’s Golden Age being delighted to be involved, such is the slick manner in which the mystery is played out and the fabulous timing of the comedy made famous Ealing Studios. With a set that almost outshines even this magnificently rebuilt theatre and with a lot of laughs mixed up amongst the murder, this is one show that that The Floral Pavillion can be just proud of bringing to The Wirral in the fervent hope that there will be many more to follow in its wake.


The cast are all superb. Melanie Gutteridge playing Clarissa, has just the right amount of mischief, bemoaning the fact that nobody ever believes her, especially during the explanation as to how she discovered the body in the drawing room, with such overstated gusto it brings spontaneous laughter and applause in waves from the audience.

Bruce Montague is Clarissa’ wily guardian, Sir Rowland Delahaye, and fills the role with sparkling dialogue and ubiquitous timing, and Casualty’s own Catherine Shipton (she used to play Duffy in the TV Drama, though is barely recognisable here) as the nosey, interfering gardener Miss Peake, is clearly an actor who has rolled all of the stereotypes of such characters together and produced something that is astonishingly entertaining. Excellent, too, is Denis Lill as Inspector Lord, who’s befuddlement at what he has stumbled into is worthy of any hapless cop who might appear in a Basil Rathbone film of the late thirties, aided and offset by Robert Duncan as his Nigel Bruce impression through the guise of Hugo Birch.

Yet it is those on the sidelines who make this show what it is. Mark Rose’s delivery as Constable Jones is priceless, Karen Elliot’s young Pippa is every inch a Hyacinth Bucket in the making and Matthew Hebden’s Oliver Costello, the victim, may well only have been on stage a short while, but nevertheless seeps foulness in a way that makes people shudder.

To put it simply, this is an excellent night out and the opportunity to see such a fine ensemble in action should not be missed.

Chris High



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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