Back to reviews


Death by Design has a very definite twist in its tale – and one I certainly wasn’t expecting.  Act 1 ended with the entire cast being in the frame as a murderer, and Act 2? ..... well I won’t spoil it for others who have never seen the play!

Pauline Mead  is a new director for Redbourn, taking over from June Farmer, who has ably directed them for many years, and on her first outing I think Pauline did a good job.  It was also good to see that all the Redbourn faithful were there, but that other newer members were also involved and added much to the production.

The set was definitely up to the usual Redbourn standard – it worked well and allowed the cast to move around it easily – it was well-dressed and looked good.

The  costumes were suitable for the cast and the era the play was set in, as were the hairstyles for both ladies and men.

David Howell was a very good Jack – the chauffeur – very much Jack the Lad, and slightly more upfront and relaxed than usual – a good portrayal that rang true.

Andy Turner played the man of the house, Edward Bennett, a good vehicle for his talents, and one which he delivered with style and aplomb.  Andy is a favourite of mine, and he certainly maintained his place with this performance.  The fact that Edward wasn’t classed as a very good playwright seemed to pass his character by, or be a matter that he had come to terms with!

Hilary Violentano as his rather snobby and pushy wife Sorel, created a larger than life character, full of her own importance and her worth as an actress, that wasn’t echoed by her husband – she had some good comic lines, that mainly seemed to come about from her disbelief that anyone else should think she wasn’t top notch!  I loved her reaction to any mention of Gertrude Lawrence.

For me, the stand out performance was Lucy Goodfellow as Victoria Van Roth, she gave a super OTT portrayal of this lady who was driven by higher planes than mere mortals, and in doing so had some lovely comic lines, which were delivered impeccably.  I loved the moment when her painting was ‘shot’ – it was priceless, which the painting certainly wasn’t according to the rest of the cast!  If it was painted especially for the play – then it was very good, and had an impressionist feel to it.

Kim Marston-Taylor as Bridgit, was a super Housekeeper, with a very good Irish accent, which she maintained throughout.  There was a lot of expression in Kim’s face when listening to the conversations, and very worth keeping an eye on, as they really caught the comedy of the moment.

Mario Violentano was Walter Pearce, a politician who had somehow wangled an invitation from Sorel for the weekend, thinking he was in with a chance, only to be confronted by her husband.  I was expecting a little more bluster from him, as a contrast to the others, but Walter ‘died’ very well, I should think it was quite a relief for him to be loaded into the wheelchair and wheeled to the back of the stage!

Becky Vernon-Clinch played Alice, would-be murderer of Walter.  This young lady has a good understanding of how to put a character across, and dealt very well with the diversity of the part.  I thought she created a very good rather down-trodden young lady of the time.... loved the glasses!

The final character was Eric – who for the performance we saw was played by Pauline Mead, due to the incapacity of the gentleman who should have played him.  Pauline actually coped very well with playing a man in the confines of a play – we are used to it in panto, but to pull it off in the confines of a play was good.

My thanks to Redbourn for their hospitality, we are made to feel most welcome, and we are always treated to a good evening’s entertainment.


Redbourn Players

DEATH BY DESIGN” review date: 4TH Dec 2014

Redbourn Village Hall

Director:  Pauline Mead


Back to reviews