Rossendale Players present a murder mystery night on the North Yorkshire moors
Agatha Christie meets James Herriot in the Rossendale Players’ latest production ‘The Conscience of Sergeant Cluff’.
In a welcome return to the murder mystery genre (for me at least), the Players take us to the North Yorkshire village of Gunnershaw where foul play appears to have been committed, or has it?
Written by Leslie Sands, the playwright who was renowned for many early TV appearances in such series as Z Cars, the ensemble play focuses on the straight-speaking, yet strangely enigmatic Caleb Cluff, a retired detective from farming stock.
Summoned down from roaming the Wuthering Heights-esque stormy moors by a death in the village, the audience is soon asked to wonder whether there is more to Caleb than meets the eye.
Played admirably by Giles Williams, it is not long before we realise that love and all its dangerous side-effects, are buried deep within Caleb.
Speaking of dangerous, the character of Ritchie Norton, is superby brought to life by Nicholas Peat in a very creepy turn as the nephew of the original “victim”.
Nicholas is excellent as rascal Ritchie, but could there be more than meets the eye to this unforgettable character?
Players regular Liam James is as commanding as ever in his role as Inspector Piercy Mole, not quite a Christie Inspector Japp type but not far off.
Newcomer Mariam Nejad makes her Players debut as the grief-stricken Kathleen Norton and captures her feisty character’s emotions perfectly.
Another Players debutant, Mick Leatherbarrow, takes the role of DS David Barker, a man with split loyalties, like so many others in the play. Mick is excellent as the man-in-middle.
Former chairman of the Players, and semi-regular actor David West, returns to the stage as Dr Hewitt in a perfectly understated performance of yet another character with an intriguing past.
Pauline Shalliker plays matriarch Nell Morton, weather-worn from a hard life on the remote farm in the Yorkshire Dales, and mother to Kathleen. Pauline captures her world-wearniness perfectly.
Kathryn Lewis as busybody Annie Croft rounds out the ensemble cast, and has the play’s rare comic lines as the forthright battleaxe.
Directed by Peter Smith, the play runs until Saturday, November 19th at the New Millennium Theatre, Burnley Road East, Waterfoot.
To buy tickets you can visit the website at www.ticketsource.co.uk/therossendaleplayers or call 0333 666 3366.