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A rather ‘spirited’ murder mystery


by Ben Reeves

A slightly batty lady is murdered at a dinner party...and you're all invited. A lot of money is involved and the prime suspect is a Jackass...sorry, Colonel Jack Astor. Oh, and he's been dead for over a century.

The Pattaya Players are returning with a performance of Gary Payne's ‘A Ghostly Murder’-- a dinnertime detective story to enjoy along with your meal at The Courtyard in East Pattaya for two nights at the end of March.

"It's a murder mystery at a dinner party. There is a young lady whose great-great-great-great grandfather died many years ago. Her husband is having an affair with another lady and they are planning to kill her off. They're trying to scare her to death," said Eileen Denning,

who plays the 'other woman'.

The young lady in question is Mary Astor-Turf, whose wealth is both extensive and fatal. It plays an important role in deciding the motives of all of the characters. Pretty much everyone wants her to die, but each for different reasons and with a different last will.

"It is not done on a stage. Everyone having dinner is actually a part of the play. The actors will walk around amongst the tables," said Wendy Khan, who is directing the play. One additional aspect this approach adds is that each performance is unique because the layout of the restaurant will be different each time. This also makes rehearsals quite interesting.

These have mostly been held at the Eastern Grand Palace Hotel, which has been extremely supportive of the troupe for many years.

There are three acts, with the characters introduced after the starter, the murder to mull over after your main course and the killer getting their just desserts after the audience gets theirs.

As generally happens with a whodunit, the audience will want to guess who did it. The best or most bizarre guesses will win a prize, in this case, and there will be an opportunity to question the suspects before you write down your guess.

"Up until last year, we always used to do a big Hallowe'en event, but we had difficulty finding a venue. We decided to make it a Hallowe'en-themed play," added Wendy. "We started rehearsals, then one of our cast members pulled out and then we found out that we had to guarantee selling 50 tickets per night.

We probably could have done that, but we were not in a position to guarantee it. In the end, we decided that it was getting too complicated and dropped it.

"We'd already cast most of it, people had already learnt their lines and we'd started on it, we decided to carry on with it. It wasn't relevant to Hallowe'en any more, but it's still good fun."

Tickets are available from The Courtyard and through members of the Pattaya Players and cost 750 THB, including a three-course buffet dinner.

You can call The Courtyard on 081 250 6400 or 038 734 522 for directions. It can be found on the road linking the eastern end of Soi

Ngern Plueb Wan with Soi Siam Country Club.

Pattaya Players present /A Ghostly Crime/

A comic mystery by Gary Payne

Directed by Wendy Khan

Friday 28th March & Saturday 29th March 2014

The Courtyard, East Pattaya

Tickets (including three-course buffet dinner): 750THB



Mara Swankey is Mary Astor-Turf:

"She's very rich, but a little nutty and eccentric. She loves her husband and doesn't realise that she's being taken for a ride. She's totally obsessed about her great-great-great-great grandfather."

Foo Smith is Aunt Edwina:

"Aunt Edwina is Mary's quite eccentric, crazy aunt. I'm actually a bad lady. Quite fond of a bottle of gin. Living on the streets, of course, so I have many items of self-defence in my rather capacious bag. We have a scarf, a very large bottle of gin, a gun, a knife, a little snack, a barman's friend (because you never know when you're going to need a barman's friend) and a torch -- which is also quite a good weapon. I'm very lovable, but a little eccentric. Mary will leave me her money, but I don't need her money. I'm happy on the streets; I'm a proud panhandler."

Duane Hauch is Monsieur Rule:

"He is a detective who has gone to investigate claims of a ghost in the home. I've disguised myself as a French psychic. I drink a lot before I arrive so, in addition to having a very bad French accent, I am also somewhat drunk. After something happens, I reveal my true identity and solve the crime."

Mike Pence is Teddy Turf:

"Teddy is a philandering husband. He wants the money! He's not a murderer, but he desperately needs the money because he is a 'lazy, worthless bastard' -- as it says in the script. He's not going to kill his wife. He's hoping he can encourage her to have a heart attack."

Eileen Denning is Rachel Devine:

"In two words: 'a tart'. I am Teddy Turf's lover. I persuaded Teddy to marry Mary because she has a lot of money. She and I are long-term friends -- we were school friends. She has a lot of money and we're after it. The only way we could get it was getting Teddy to marry her then get her to change her will to favour him. Then we get rid of her and I've got Teddy to myself."

Chris Hardman is Jeeves:

"He's a typical butler who is all full of airs and graces and tries to put on a posh accent, but he's from the gutter. He used to be a tramp like Aunt Edwina and Mary took him in and gave him a job and he's now a butler, which is much better than he was when she first met him. That's why he's devoted to her, he's in love with her and would do anything to look after her and protect her. Because they're so close, Mary has included Jeeves in her will, which is a contentious point with the other people."