Lostock Hall theatre group cooks up thrilling murder mystery

The cast of Till Death Do Us Part, a murder mystery presented by St James' Players in Lostock Hall.
The cast of Till Death Do Us Part, a murder mystery presented by St James' Players in Lostock Hall.

Dark humour was the dish of the day during a thrilling evening of theatre in Lostock Hall.

St James' Players cooked up a healthy serving of theatrical fun mixing secrets, comedy and romance during their murder mystery last month.

Till Death Do Us Part, written by member Philip-James Tomlinson, follows Detective Lemone as she investigates the murder of a hotel owner on the day of his daughter's wedding.

This was my first taste of a murder mystery and it by no means disappointed: the comedy was dark, the drama was enthralling and the suspense was built up brilliantly.

A murder mystery is a type of theatre in which the diners are invited to play detective and solve the crime as they eat and watch the play. Actors often mix in with the diners and improvise dialogue.

Phil's well-paced tale kept me guessing the whole night through and was made all the more exciting by the fun elements of audience interaction, which drew me further into the story.

The writer assembled a strong cast, who showcased the breadth of their skills as they improvised the script during burning Q&As with the diners. They gave well controlled performances, kept their composure and added further depths to their characters.

Lyndsey Gornall proved to be a natural both on stage and during improvisation in the role of the blushing bride, while Chris Murray, who starred opposite her as the gambling addicted groom, gave a confident and charming portrayal.

Jackie Bird had the audience in stitches as the bride's drunk mum and Andrew Croft nailed a French accent in his part as the best man/chauffeur.

Angela Ross was an investigative force to be reckoned with as the detective and Sarah Vivi Cann gave a fantastic performance as the jealous bridesmaid with a devastating secret.

Proving Sarah's talents run in the family, Stu Cann was the evening's fabulous host while his wife Kathleen brought extra fun, comedy and drama to the show as the deceased's brash mistress.

Finally, strong support came from Bryan Pilkington as the waiter and Caitlyn D’Arcy as a police officer.

Cheers must also be said to everyone working backstage and in the catering team for putting on a fantastic two-course meal that was simply to die for!

I'm sure glasses were raised by many in toast of Phil's wonderful storytelling skills and I highly doubt I'm the only one hoping for several more murder mysteries to come from this talented bunch.