This comic thriller by Norman Robbins completes the trilogy of plays about the Tomb family, a family of professional or, as it turns out, not so professional, assassins who are described as playing together and slaying together.  The evening provided a heady mix of over the top characters in a spoof with murder mystery and enough plot twists and double crossings to avoid any sense of the predictable.

The nicely designed set – the sitting room at Monument House, a country house in Norfolk – captured perfectly the atmosphere and Gothic undertones needed for the story.  Director Sheila Barker maintained a firm grip on the proceedings, choreographing the action with precision and moving the action along at a reasonable pace.  The use of music and lighting at the end of each act highlighted the latest dramatic, usually murderous, turn in the plot, whilst also maintaining just the right comic tone.

There was very distinct and detailed characterisation of each role, with each cast member owning their role.  All worked hard to breathe life into what could be rather one dimensional or slightly stereotypical characters.  Overall the production hit exactly the right light-hearted tone needed for the material.  There were still a few fluffed lines and moments of uncertainty; delivery could have been a bit sharper to really nail all the laughs.

Beverley Sell (Hecuba Tomb) made the most of the role, her slightly bohemian costume and clanking beads and bracelets suggesting a figure altogether more benign than the keen poisoner and disposer of bodies that was her character.  Wayne Ings was obviously having a blast as the vainglorious and very camp Quentin Danesworth, an initially fun character that nevertheless, like some others, suffered from the one-dimensional problem.  Georgie Ray Burton was impressive as the hapless Antony Strickland, the PA with a few tricks up his sleeve, as was Kristy Hepworth as Phillipa Collins, the writer of crime fiction with more than a few ideas of her own.

This was a fun and entertaining evening, performed with gusto and commitment by the Hamble Players.

Karen Robson

Prepare to Meet Thy Tomb 2018 Review