Agatha Christie’s The Unexpected Guest

Agatha Christie's The Unexpected Guest at the Old Mill Theatre

Whodunit? Find out in Agatha Christie’s The Unexpected Guest with Kit Leake, left, Jeremy Smith, Ryan Perrin, Wayne Cant and Praveen Hooda, at back, Jackie Oates, Sian Burgess and Davilia O’Connor, at front, and Charlie Young, sitting.

A CLASSIC Agatha Christie whodunit is set to deliver a web of intrigue for the Old Mill Theatre’s first season of the year.

Directed by Joan Scafe, The Unexpected Guest follows a stranger lost in fog, who seeks refuge in a nearby house – only to find a man shot dead and his wife standing over him with a smoking gun. But the woman’s dazed confession is anything but convincing so the unexpected guest decides to help.

Police clues point to a man who died two years previously but, as the ghosts of a past wrong begin to emerge, a tangled web of lies reveals family secrets and chilling motives where the real murderer turns out to be the greatest mystery of all.

“Agatha Christie wrote numerous ‘whodunit’ plays and this is no exception,” Scafe said. “It’s a play from the 1950s and remains in that era so there’s no trying to modernise it. It’s been some years since I was on stage at the Old Mill Theatre, so my first challenge has been finding my way around.

Agatha Christie's The Unexpected Guest at the Old Mill Theatre

Wayne Cant, left, is Michael Starkwadder, the so-called “unexpected guest” of the play’s title, with Jackie Oates as Laura Warwick.

“I have directed one cast member before while the others I need to work with, getting down to the detail as I see it. It’s imperative the cast’s work away from rehearsals, such as getting their scripts down, gives us plenty of time to polish the show.”

Initially performing while at school in the UK, Scafe has more than 40 years’ theatre experience in WA after she first took to the stage in a Murdoch University production of The Bacchae at Dolphin Theatre in 1977. She appeared in Melville Theatre’s inaugural show Not Now Darling in 1982 and has appeared in a plethora of plays since – and was nominated for best actress for her role in Three Tall Women at the 2009 Finley Awards.

Agatha Christie's The Unexpected Guest at the Old Mill Theatre

Agatha Christie’s The Unexpected Guest features Sian Burgess as housekeeper Miss Bennett and Davilia O’Connor as Mrs Warwick, the family’s matriarch.

A dual role in the Queen and I also earned Scafe an award from Playlovers with many people not realising she was playing Princess Margaret as well as a neighbour in slippers and curlers with a cigarette in her mouth. More recently, she has appeared in Calendar Girls at Stirling Theatre and On Golden Pond at Harbour Theatre while also directing several shows at Melville Theatre, where she is a life member and past president.

The Unexpected Guest came my way under unusual circumstances,” Scafe said. “The Old Mill Theatre needed a director at short notice because the play was already programmed, so I said I’d step into the breach! I had never read it and had to get auditions done as soon as possible – but with seven roles for men, I was concerned. Men are usually in short supply at auditions but we made it and the play was fully cast.”

Agatha Christie’s The Unexpected Guest plays at 7.30pm February 23, 24, March 1, 2, 3, 8, 9 and 10 with 2pm matinees February 25 and March 4. Tickets are $25, $20 concession – BOOK ONLINE  or call 0475 895 701.

 

 

Weekend Notes

Weekend Notes has run a story on the The Unexpected Guest, which can be viewed at www.weekendnotes.com/agatha-christies-the-unexpected-guest-at-old-mill-theatre