FOOTLICE Theatre Company is celebrating its 30th birthday with a production of the first full-length play its members wrote and staged, an amusing send-up of Agatha Christie-style murder mysteries called The Golden Antelope.
The actors include three of the original cast members: Fiona Mundie, Merilyn Hey, and Brian Birkefeld, who also co-wrote the comedy with Chris Fletcher. Hey directs, a role she also had in the first production.
The Golden Antelope will be staged at the Unorthodox Church of Groove in Newcastle West from May 5 to 13.
Footlice Theatre Company, originally known as Footlice Comedy Theatre, was formed by Newcastle University graduates who had been members of university revues staged by Merilyn Hey from 1984. Hey revived the revues, which had not been presented since 1969, after becoming the university’s activities officer in 1983, following a three-year stint with Hunter Valley Theatre Company as actor and stage manager.
In its three decades, Footlice has presented only locally written and devised works. And many have won acclaim beyond the Hunter.
Brian Birkefeld noted that The Golden Antelope was placed on a secondary schools reading list in Tasmania 15 years ago, and that it had been staged in Sydney and New Zealand.
The playis set in an English rural mansion in the 1920s, with the family head, Lord Oxencart, dying without leaving a will and the family mystified by the disappearance of his precious title heirloom.
And, as more deaths occur and are obviously the work of a murderer, a police inspector and his assistant come to the mansion, but their presence doesn’t stop the bodies falling.
The cast includes Alastair Anderberg, Brian Birkefeld, Michael Blaxland, Sonja Davis, Merilyn Hey, Jan Hunt, Fiona Mundie, Oliver Pink and Malcolm Young, with some playing multiple roles.
Merilyn Hey is repeating the role of the family’s Aunt Maud, which was written for her. But Fiona Mundie and Brian Birkefeld play different characters this time. In the first show Mundie was the disaffected Oxencart daughter, Marcia. Now she doubles as mystic clairvoyant, Madame Oracle, and the inspector’s assistant, Felicity Bainbridge. Birkefeld was the family’s gardener, Bob, and a bearded woman, Jessica Piebald. He’s again doubling, as butler Winston Appleyard and a mysterious Indian visitor, Vindaloo Mukkahukkarajihab.
Performances are at 8pm on Fridays, May 5 and 12, and on Saturdays, May 6 and 13. The Unorthodox Church of Groove is at 3 Tudor Street.
Tickets, which are$20 and concession $15)can be bought by emailing [email protected]苏州美甲学校网.
GOLDEN CAST: Left to right (at rear) Fiona Mundie, Oliver Pink, Alastair Anderberg; front: Sonja Davis, Jan Hunt, Merilyn Hey.