by Brian Clemens & Dennis Spooner
(November 3 to 25, 2023)
Director: Katherine Bignell
Producers: John Acuna, Nick Munaretto

"Village Players" "Bloor West Village Players" "Village Playhouse" "Runnymede theatre" theatre theater "community theatre" "2023-24" “Sting in the Tale” “Brian Clemens”

About the play. . .

This ingenious play opens on Goodman and Forbes, two once successful crime-writing playwrights struggling to complete a block-buster play to pay off their mounting debts – or are they? As the plot develops a startling thought occurs to them – who better to accomplish the perfect murder than themselves? Forbes’ nagging wife, Ann, is the perfect victim, especially as she is amply insured. It all seems plausible enough until Goodman mistakenly kills their secretary and a stage-struck detective appears on the scene. From here the play twists and turns so much that it is difficult to know who has been murdered and by whom. Eventually we learn the truth, but can Goodman convince the buffoon Inspector?

About Brian Clemens, playwright…

"village playhouse toronto" “village playhouse” "village players" "bloor west" theatre theater Runnymede “Murder Weapon” “Brian Clemens” “Jennifer Monteith”

Brian Clemens left school at 14 and, after national service with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, worked his way up from messenger boy to copywriter at an advertising firm, writing in his spare time. His first script was accepted by the BBC in 1955, but he really paid his dues as a writer of mystery and suspense when he joined the production company Danzigers, writing to tight deadlines with demanding plots.

Clemens is known to fans of English television, as the mastermind behind the cult classic series The Avengers (he gets credit for hiring Diana Rigg), the New Avengers and The Professionals. His reputation extends to a playwright of mysteries, suspense, and farces – but he wrote sixteen plays (with or without various co-writers), including a stage adaptation of The Avengers.

Clemens was appointed OBE in 2010, the same year that the British Film Institute featured a retrospective of his work; he died five years later at age 83.

This will be the 4th Brian Clemens play Village Players has staged in the last decade: Strictly Murder – a tense drama set in pre-occupied-France, Murder Weapon – a tense, twist-filled thriller – and Anybody for Murder – another comedy thriller co-written with Dennis Spooner.

About Dennis Spooner, playwright….

"Village Players" "Bloor West Village Players" "Village Playhouse" "Runnymede theatre" theatre theater "community theatre" "2023-24" “Sting in the Tale” “Brian Clemens” "Dennis Spooner"

Before turning to writing, Spooner was a professional footballer, a member of the Royal Air Force and toured the comedy circuit in a double act.  He then turned to writing, working as a script editor and writing for television.

He became known for his work in children’s television in the 1960s and his script-writing for such shows as the early Coronation Street, Doctor Who, The Avengers and The New Avengers.

He had long-lasting professional working relationships with a number of other British screenwriters and producers, including Brian Clemens, with whom he also co-wrote Anybody for Murder (Village Players, 2018). Spooner died in 1986.

About Katherine Bignell-Jones, the director…

"village playhouse toronto" "Village Players" "Bloor west" theatre theater "Toronto theatre" "Fox on the Fairway" "Les Belles Soeurs" "The Liar" "Katherine Bignell-Jones""

Lighting designer, props coordinator, set designer, stage manager, makeup artist, actor are just a few of Katherine’s theatre skills.  In recent years she has also become one of Village Players’ most creative and accomplished directors, with Fox on the Fairway and Les Belles Soeurs in 2016, The Liar in 2018 and Unnecessary Farce in 2019.

She also directed God of Carnage in the Toronto Fringe and Nana’s Naughty Knickers for Theatre Etobicoke. Other selected plays she has directed are Terror By Gaslight (Kanaidjun Entertainment), Killcreek (Bojit Productions), A Bedfull of Foreigners, Too Many Cooks and Who’s Under Where? (Theatre Etobicoke), and Final Curtain (LaSalle Players).

In honour of our 50th season: Village Players first staged a Brian Clemens play in 2014 (Strictly Murder). To see a photo and cast/crew list from our archives, click on 50th Season logo below. . . .

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