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New kid on the block

Hi everbody, I’m Siobhan Ebden and in Out of Sight, Out of Murder, I play Minna the American neighbour come housekeeper. I’ve been a member of SaddleworthPlayers for a couple of years now and you might have seen (met) me doing the coffee’s or on the bar. I have been backstage on a few productions, making the beds four times a night on The Graduate, knocking on the door and making the scenery collapse in the Farndale production and then making my stage debut in Sisters, Sisters, as a member of the S.L.U.T.S (Saddleworth Ladies and Uppermill Theatrical Society) the alter ego of our wonderful company!

So playing Minna is my first proper acting performance since I played the Ghost of Christmas Past in A Christmas Carol at St Anne’s juniors! More than a short while ago.

I’ve had great time with the rest of the cast during rehearsals and what a lovely group of experienced actors I’ve got to work with, more than helpful with that nebulous thing ‘ stage craft’ and I’ve certainly benefited from the tips about learning lines, costumes and make up. Minna is described as a ‘hefty strong lady, used to working on the farm’ not quite the description our writer gives to his agent!

Minna is loud, jolly and knows all the little secrets of the house, she’s very, very helpful though a little (a lot) insensitive.

Many thanks to Verity for her patient direction and for giving this Newbie the chance to perform. I hope you enjoy the show, and maybe you’ll think of joining us too in the future?

Siobhan Ebdem, October 5, 2018,


Review – Out of Sight, Out of Murder

If murder mysteries are a genre of their own Fred Carmichael’s play is one of the stranger examples of the form. It has everything that a thriller should have – a sinister, isolated mansion, dramatic flashes of thunder and lightning and a cast of dodgy characters, any one of whom could be the killer. What makes this play different is that said character, mostly pillaged from the pages of Agatha Christie, turn out to have strong opinions about their allotted roles. Some revel in their villainy, some bitch about being landed yet again with the same dismal prospect of being murdered before the interval: all of them invade the author’s mind and complain that he has no idea what happens next.

This state of affairs is at first disconcerting, but as the play goes on the audience gradually cotton on and form their own theories. Who has the mean and the motive? Whose charming exterior conceals the black heart of the Killer? And when will the Unexpected Guest arrive? Verity Mann’s production tackles these questions with confident aplomb. The design manages both to resemble every mysterious stage setting ever created and to have murky possibilities of its own. The dramatic lighting and sound effects materialise at exactly the right moment (easier said than done) and the cast move comfortable between being inscrutable and self-revealing. The murderer, needless to say, makes one fatal slip.

As always, the actors of the Saddleworth Players are more than capable of carrying off their parts. Martin Taylor does well as the gawky, harassed thriller-writer who feels his plot slipping out of control. Siobhan Ebden is convincing as the down to earth housekeeper who is utterly unaware of the unlikely goings-on which are suspended every time she walks on to the stage. Between them they sustain two entirely different American accents which stand out well against the upper class English cads and flibberty-gibbets.

Alayne Whitworth and Emma Sykes contrast well as the cynical, seen-it-all-vamp and the impossibly kind and innocent ingenue. Dick Stanton, as the juvenile lead, is relentlessly cheerful and hearty until circumstances make that difficult to maintain, and Ian Crickett and Colin Watt invite suspicion every time they open their mouths. Emily Skeldon draws the short straw as the put-upon maid whom everyone takes advantage of and Margaret Thompson (a Miss Marple wannabe?) finds fault with everyone.

There are no weak links in the cast and just as much credit goes to the production team who provide the bangs, crashes and sudden black-outs which keep us in suspense to the end of this unlikely saga. And there is even a happy, romantic ending!

'Out of Sight, Out of Murder' runs until Saturday 6th October at the Millgate Arts Centre, Delph. Tickets £9 (£5 students) from our online booking site.

John Rigby, October 1, 2018,


An English butler in an American play

In the days of yore which comprised my youth, there was an American singer called Harold Lloyd Watkins. As he feared that he might not rise to fame and fortune bearing the name of Harold, legend has it that he consulted a road map of the Southern states, where he found a town in Arkansas called Conway and a town in Texas called Twitty. With amazing perspicacity he twinned the two, and once Harold had become Conway Twitty he enjoyed huge success as a country singer for the next thirty years. In 1958, he enjoyed his only UK hit with a plaintive ditty entitled ‘It’s Only Make Believe’, which reached number 1 on both sides of the Atlantic.

Now it might well be said that all drama is only make believe. After all Macbeth didn’t really meet three witches on the way to Tesco, did he? There are no witches in the next Saddleworth production, but death’s never far away, even though ‘Out of Sight, Out of Murder’ is as unlikely a title for a play as Conway Twitty was a name for a singer.

Although I’ve never felt particularly servile, I have played a few manservants in the past, and there’s a tricky plural. Having served in the works of both Oscar Wilde and Oliver Goldsmith, I’m tackling a Fred Carmichael butler in this one. However, the plot thickens, so to speak, as not only am I a butler, but an English butler in an American play which has more than a hint of magical mystery about it.

So is it only make believe? You really must come and see. Alternatively, you could have asked Conway Twitty, but sadly he’s no longer with us.

Or is he?

‘Out of Sight, Out of Murder’ will be performed by the Saddleworth Players at the Millgate Arts Centre, Delph, from 29 September–6 October. Tickets £9 (£5 students) from our online booking office.

Ian Crickett, September 23, 2018,


Playing the lawyer ... once again!

And once again a lawyer. I am Colin Watt and I am playing Jordan Dillingham, the lawyer, in the play ‘Out Of Sight, Out Of Murder’. Being a man, and able to multitask, this is how I start World War 3, I will also be stage managing this show. The last time I played the lawyer was in ‘Laughter in the Dark’ at Greenfield Methodist Players way back many years ago. Since then I have played many parts and many different types of characters, from Geoffrey, in ‘Stepping Out’ to Baron Zeta, in ‘The Merry Widow’ and Buttons in ‘Cinderella’.

A number of years ago, I met a pianist, on a cruise, and ended up doing a few shows while on board singing mainly Frank Sinatra songs, unbeknown to me this pianist was one of the stars on board, his name was Ray Coussins, and he played many times for Frank Sinatra when Bill Miller was unable to, so I can say I have sung with Frank Sinatra’s pianist!

I now, along with a number of my friends, run a charity concert group, going around to help groups of volunteers raise money for funds to help them to continue their good work, we call ourselves Entertaining Friends, so if you see us on anywhere, come and support us, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

I am looking forward to being in this show.

‘Out of Sight, Out of Murder’ will be performed by the Saddleworth Players at the Millgate Arts Centre, Delph, from 29 September–6 October. Tickets £9 (£5 students) from our online booking office.

Colin Watt, September 20, 2018,


Sophisticated, brittle and a wicked flirt!

Hi all, my name is Alayne Whitworth and I’m playing Lydia in the Saddleworth Players upcoming comedy murder mystery ‘Out of Sight, Out of Murder’.

This is my third ‘outing’ with the Saddleworth Players. Playing Mrs Reece, the doyenne of the Farndale Dramatic Society in the ‘Farndale Murder Mystery’ and then reprising her in the one act play ‘Sisters, Sisters’ was enormous fun and then to be asked to play Lydia in ‘Out of Sight’ … how lucky am I!

My character Lydia is described as sophisticated, brittle and caustic but with a good sense of humour. She is also a wicked flirt, so, all in all, an absolute joy to play!

Ably directed by Verity Mann, I’ve really enjoyed developing my character over the last few weeks and it’s been a pleasure watching the other members of the cast with theirs too. In my humble opinion, the casting of this play is spot on. Hopefully you’ll agree with me once you’ve seen the play.

With just over three weeks left to get our act together I don’t mind admitting that my nerves have started to jingle somewhat but I’m happy to report that all is well and we have the makings of an excellent play.

Enjoy!

Out of Sight, Out of Murder’ will be performed by the Saddleworth Players at the Millgate Arts Centre, Delph, from 29 September–6 October. Tickets £9 (£5 students) from our online booking office.

Alayne Whitworth, September 13, 2018,