Comic play delivers surprise life in death

The comedy Wife After Death features Anna Head, left, Rodney van Groningen, Susan Meikle, Jacqui Warner, Andrew Govey and Sandra Sando.

A SECRET life will soon be exposed at a funeral and the bombshell will cause tempers – and ashes – to fly.

It’s all part of Serial Productions’ latest show Wife After Death, written by Eric Chappell and directed by Rob Warner at the Old Mill Theatre.

Set at the funeral of successful television comedian Dave Thursby, his friends and family soon discover they know less about him than they imagined.

A series of revelations uncover some home truths while everyone tries to keep up appearances for the sake of his widow – and then an unexpected and unexplained mourner arrives.

Playwright Eric Chappell is an English comedy writer who wrote several of the UK’s biggest sitcom hits during the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s, including The Squirrels, Rising Damp, Only When I Laugh, The Bounder, Duty Free, Singles, Haggard and Home to Roost.

Kevin (Rodney van Groningen, left) and Jane (Susan Meikle) in Wife After Death.

“I loved the script for Wife After Death and thought it was very clever and funny,” Warner said. “I also liked the fact it was a small cast and quite easy to stage.

“Having to build a set off-site is quite a challenge so it’s nice to have a relatively straight forward set to construct – in this case, it’s a drawing room.”

Joining Marloo Theatre in 1993, initially just to keep an eye on his kids, Warner has been involved ever since and has spent the past 11 years as president.

He mainly works as a stage manager and has branched out with other companies including the Old Mill, KADS, Regal, Rechabites and Stirling Theatres and the Graduate Dramatic Society.

Warner made his directing debut with The Foreigner at Marloo Theatre last year, picking up the Yvonne Lynch Breakthrough Award, David Crewes Award for best set and nominations for best director and best play, at the annual Finley Awards.

Harvey Barrett (Andrew Govey, left), scriptwriter to the late comedian in Wife After Death, with Kay (Sandra Sando) – an unknown arrival at the funeral.

“As Wife After Death is a Serial Productions show, our challenge is finding a suitable rehearsal space – this year it’s our garage!” he said.

“Given the space may be slightly smaller or different to the Old Mill stage, it means the actors need to adapt quickly in the few rehearsals on the proper stage.

“The biggest task for a director is choosing the right cast and I can honestly say the actors in Wife After Death are absolutely perfect in their roles, which makes my job a whole lot easier.”

Wife After Death plays at 8pm August 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, September 1, 2, 6, 7, 8 and 9 with 2pm matinees August 27 and September 3. Tickets are $25, $22 concession – BOOK ONLINE HERE.

The heritage-listed Old Mill Theatre is on the corner of Mends Street and Mill Point Road, South Perth (opposite the Windsor Hotel and Australia Post).



Weekend Notes

Weekend Notes has run a story on the Wife After Death, which can be viewed at