by Brian Clemens
(November 1 to 23, 2019)
Director: Jennifer Monteith
Producer: Rosemary McGillivray
Photos by Jennifer Etches (production) and David Nicholson (rehearsal)
About the play….
When Chief Constable Jessica Bligh accompanies her friend Diane Tulliver home to Dysart Hall after a night at the opera they arrive to a horrifying scene. Diane’s husband Paul has been shot dead and ex-convict Charley Mirren is standing over him bearing a gun. It appears to be an open-and-shut case for Chief Constable Bligh, but as she and her colleague Inspector Fremont probe further they discover all is not what it seems. Through a series of flashbacks and re-enactments of the events leading up to Paul’s death, we soon find it is not just the murderer’s identity that is in question.
Murder Weapon is an ingeniously plotted, highly tense thriller. Like all the best mysteries, it takes many “I didn’t see that coming” twists before it’s resolved.
About Brian Clemens, the playwright….
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 plots often based on the availability of existing sets, props or location.
Clemens is known to the English, and to American fans of English television, as the mastermind behind the cult classic series The Avengers and that other classic action series The Professionals. He’s less well known as a playwright of mysteries, suspense, and farces – but with or without various co-writers, he wrote sixteen plays ranging from a stage adaptation of The Avengers to Anybody for Murder, the comedy thriller done by Village Players last season, and the tense pre-occupied-France drama Strictly Murder, seen in 2014.
He 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.
About Jennifer Monteith, the director…
Last year, Jennifer played Mary Ticklewell in our last Brian Clemens’ play, Anybody for Murder – this time she’s directing one of his plays! Village Players audiences may also recall Jennifer from her on-stage appearances as Mrs. Erlynne in Lady Windermere’s Fan (2014), and Lady Gertrude Chiltern in An Ideal Husband (2005), or in one of her many appearances elsewhere in Toronto.
What they might not know is that Jennifer has also produced Village plays (Powers and Gloria, Foxfinder) and looked after props, costumes and hair for others, and sits on the Village Players Board of Directors. Her experience also includes stage management (East Side Players’ The Importance of Being Earnest.) Murder Weapon will mark her first time directing since University. Jennifer also studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art [England] and during the day successfully pretends to be a banker.