Everyone loves a murder-mystery especially when there is a familiar face taking centre stage in it - so it was heartening to see a bumper audience at Chesterfield’s Pomegranate Theatre.
Drawn by the appearance of John Lyons (Jack’s right-hand man in A Touch of Frost), the revival of Father Brown stories on television or their love of G,K Chesterton’s creations, each had a motive for being there.
The majority of the audience last night (Friday, October 16) was of advanced years, so it was a good thing that the shock and gore were muted in Rumpus Theatre Company’s production of Father Brown - The Curse of the Invisible Man.
A technically brilliant scene which was the best in show saw the stage plunged into darkness save for a diagonal beam of light as a character walked across it to the soundtrack of a spooky, echoey laugh.
All the ingredients of a classic murder-mystery were there - a dead body, several suspects and clues along the way for the audience to work out whodunit.
However, there were still plenty of surprises in the script, an adaptation by performer and co-director John Goodrum of Chesterton’s story.
A murderer anxious to get their hands on five valuable daggers lay at the core of the tale which included a mystery letter to an ex-fiancee and a deadly assignation.
John Lyons slipped into the role of clergyman cum sleuth Father Brown with ease, his measured and resounding delivery helping the audience to fit the pieces of the jigsaw together.
Karen Henson played an archaeology expert delivering a lengthy speech about how the ancient daggers came to be in various hands which was word-perfect but a tad too quick for the audience to fully absorb.
Anna Mitcham and John Goodrum in the roles of scared niece and her new boyfriend fleshed out a drama which was cosy and in no danger of giving anyone nightmares.
The killer remains a secret because there are still two more performances to be seen at the Pomegranate today (Saturday). Curtain up at 3pm and 7.30pm.