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It Could Be Any One Of Us

Our Spring Production for 1999 was this comedy-thriller by Alan Ayckbourn. In fact, the play is a murder mystery thriller, turned around to become a typical Ayckbourn comedy! Many of the ingredients of the play are the 'traditional' ingredients of the thriller; a remote country house, haggling over a will and a rather unusual family with some fairly odd members. This being Ayckbourn, though, things are never what they seem and the mix is leavened with sharp humour and ironical comment.

Local drama reviewer Spotlight writes:

AYCKBOURN FIRST FOR LUCILLA

The first production of a new play by Alan Ayckbourn is usually something to shout about in dramatics circles, and in March, Crosby's Lucilla Dramatic Society was shouting pretty loud. Lucilla's recent presentation of Ayckbourn's comedy-thriller "It Could be Any One of Us" was, as far as the organisers are aware, the first in the North West of England, although some have already taken place in other parts of Britain.

Amateur groups will he queuing up to perform this play, as it has all the wit and acid humour we expect of an Ayckbourn script, but without many of the problems often found in directing and staging.

Set in the home of the Chalke family - all of them unsuccessful artists of one sort or another - the play deals with the ongoing effects of eldest brother Mortimer's announcement that he intends bequeathing all the family property to a virtual stranger.. .the girl who used to be his student.

When the future beneficiary declares her intention of using the stately pile as a breeding-kennels for King Charles spaniels, it does nothing to improve the tempers of the rest of the family - sister Jocelyne, younger brother Brinton, and Jocelyne's daughter Amy - so when a murder is committed at the height of a thunderstorm, no one is really surprised.

The crime is "solved' by Jocelyne's partner, Norris Honeywell, a private detective who makes Inspector Clouseau look like Sherlock Holmes, and whose meddling leads the family even further into trouble.

Written as a spoof on the Agatha Christie-type murder play, "It Could he Any One of Us" is a true comedy-thriller, moving from slapstick to surreal, often in the same scene.

Mortimer Chalke, the frustrated musician whose embittered attitude provokes the mayhem, was played by John Wild, while Ann Birch played his sister Jocelyne, art author with 34 unfinished novels to her credit. The bungling detective, Norris, was Bob Stone, while Brinton, an artist who can't paint, and Amy, a teenager whose only talent is for stuffing her face, were played by Peter Mercer and Becky Graham. Wendy Windwood, the happy legatee, who unwittingly walks straight into the crossfire, was played by Alison Jones.

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