The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre
October 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8 1977
Intent to Murder
by Leslie Sands
Margaret Ockenden – Janet Preston
Tim Cara – George
Brian Moulton – Mr. Henderson
Jane Vrettos – Chris
Roger Job – Larry
Rosemary Boulton – Mrs. Bunting
Stage Manager – Paul Vrettos
Set Layout – Bill Mack
Set Design & Construction – Paul Vrettos
Set Design & Construction – Richard Porter
Lighting & Sound – Andrew Theaker
Properties – Frances Thorne
Properties – Margaret Davy
Assistant Stage Manager – Sue Cara
Front of House Manager – Frances Moulton
Programme Note #1: Intent to Murder
BM wrote “Did she or didn’t she? Is George the real villain or is there more to it? How much does Henderson know?’ All is revealed in this play with its many varied twists and turns, which I first saw and liked when performed by a touring company in Bognor some years ago. If our offering absorbs your interest as theirs did mine and keeps you guessing as to the eventual outcome, then we shall be well pleased.”
Programme Note #2: Intent to Murder
“We are very pleased to welcome this play to the barn stage, as it marks the first production by Bill Mack. Bill has been with the Company for five years and had=s appeared in a number of plays, including When We Are Married as Herbert Soppitt and Barretts of Wimpole Street as Mr. Barrett himself. Bill is also a stalwart member of the workshop.
This play is being entered for the Annual Brighton & District Drama Association full length play festival and we wish them all GOOD LUCK.
The members of the cast reflect the new and the old. Brian Moulton joined us some twenty five years ago and has been a powerful Henry in Man For All Seasons, a typsy reporter, Ormonroyd, in When We Are Married and an outstanding lead in Othello, among many parts.
Rosemary Boulton, meanwhile, joined us late in 1976 and appeared in Barretts. Rosemary moved into Southwick from Essex and Tim Cara moved to Shoreham from the West Country. Tim also appeared in the Barretts in the cameo rôle of Capt. Surtees Cook. Margaret Ockenden has been in Wick since 1966 and was on the Barn stage earlier this year in Relatively Speaking, when Margaret played the part of Sheila, Margaret also appeared in the Odd Couple, as one of the Pigeon sisters. Roger Job has been with us for five years and he too was in Relatively Speaking as Greg. He was also in Barretts and that delightful one-act entry in the Centre’s Festival this year, Bedtime Story.
Jane Vrettos is taking a rest after this play and we hope Jane will not stay away too long. We remember her Molly in The Secretary Bird and the delightful Wilson in the Barretts.”
……and by the way ‘tea and biscuits’ were available during the interval; price 10p.
Review #1: Intent to Murder
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: October 7 issue – page 2
Reviewer: Frank Horsley
Text Header: “This thriller is not Wick’s style”
WICK THEATRE COMPANY, whose professional standards and taste in plays I have admired greatly in the past, seems to have relegated itself temporarily to the routine mediocrity of the village hall whodunit. I’m afraid Intent to Murder by Leslie Sands opened the Company’s 30th season with something of a whimper at the Barn Theatre on Tuesday. The fact that it’s Wick’s entry for this year’s Brighton and District drama festival makes this particular choice of play appear doubly unfortunate. Even though the language is updated in a piece written several years ago, the dialogue is still stilted and the action ponderous and banal, which simply encourages a rather leaden response from the cast. This is not the stuff which wins drama festivals, despite the optimism of director Bill Mack about the entertainment potential of the play’s ‘many varied twists and turns’.
Wick has always been far more at home with the sophistication of pieces like The Odd Couple or the classic appeal of the award-winning When We Are Married – plays that encourage actors to rise to the occasion. Intent to Murder has no such pedigree, only the predictable mix of cliché-ridden situations and characters aimed solely at creating tension.
The plot revolves round bank robber-on-the-run George Bates [Tim Cara] and novelist Janet Preston [Margaret Ockenden] who also has a serious crime on her conscience. She has bumped off her husband – Bates’s partner in crime – for the love of young schoolteacher, Larry [Roger Job] who is engaged to her secretary Chris [Jane Vrettos]. In the interests of his and Janet’s ‘mutual safety’, Bates decides to impersonate her late husband, but this soon arouses the suspicions of local vet Mr. Henderson [Brian Moulton] . . .
Despite difficulties with his lines, that fine actor Brian Moulton probably squeezes more from his part than most, playing a canny Scot who ultimately fathoms everything out. Margaret Ockenden gives a well judged performance as Janet, but Tim Cara often seems ill at ease as Bates, overloading many of his speeches with false intonation. Jane Vrettos and Roger Job, meanwhile, have little to turn their talents to and simply give adequate portrayals of flat characters. Rosemary Boulton completes the cast as Mrs Bunting, the home help who sees much, but stays loyal to her employer, Janet.
Intent to Murder continues at the Barn Theatre, Southwick, tonight [Friday] and tomorrow, curtain-up 7.45 p.m.
Review #2: Intent to Murder
Publication Data: Unknown
Text Header: “A time and a place for murder”
Place a small group pf people in a remote Yorkshire cottage in the Yorkshire Dales and the set-up sounds ripe for murder. But Leslie Sands’ Intent to Murder has the added virtue of ingenious variations which make a refreshing change from direct police enquiries. This psychological cat and mouse game was well staged by the Wick Theatre Company.
Margaret Ockenden nicely balanced the double nature of the villainess – a gushing hostess and an arch schemer who might have been inspired by Lady Macbeth. The other villain was given a suitable touch of ruthlessness by Tim Cara. One of his entrances provided the biggest shock of the evening. A young couple unwittingly enmeshed in events became the old-fashioned love interest. Jane Vrettos as the homely Chris and Roger Job as her young man rescued the parts from dullness by injecting warmth into the characters. The mysterious Mr Henderson, a Yorkshire vet dabbling in amateur detection, was soundly characterised by Brian Moulton. Rosemary Boulton completed the cast as the daily help – essential for this type of plot as a gossip to fuel the clues. It was a good character study.
This was a notable first production by Bill Mack. The suspense was well maintained and provided a thoroughly gripping evening.