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Agatha Christie's Spider's Web at Old Mill Theatre

Home > Perth > Community Theatre | Performing Arts | Theatre
Published February 23rd 2020
Update March 15th 2020
Please note this production is cancelled.

Web of intrigue in Agatha Christie comedy whodunit
Agatha Christie, Spider's Web, Old Mill Theatre, performing arts, whodunit, comedy, stage, suspense, humour, murder
Jennifer McGrath plays the main role of Clarissa in Agatha Christie's Spider's Web.


A unique blend of suspense and humour come together at the Old Mill Theatre this March in an Agatha Christie play parodying the detective thriller genre. Directed by Donna Foote and June Richardson, Spider's Web delivers tension and laughter in equal parts with an intricate plot of murder, police, drug addicts, invisible ink, hidden doorways and secret drawers.

Agatha Christie, Spider's Web, Old Mill Theatre, performing arts, whodunit, comedy, stage, suspense, humour, murder
Kaylin Cutfield plays Pippa Hailsham-Brown, the teenage stepdaughter of Clarissa.


Clarissa, a diplomat's wife, is adept at spinning tales of adventure but when a murder takes place in her drawing-room she finds it much harder to cope with real-life drama. Desperate to dispose of the body before her husband arrives with an important politician, she enlists the help of her guests until they are interrupted by a detective.

Agatha Christie, Spider's Web, Old Mill Theatre, performing arts, whodunit, comedy, stage, suspense, humour, murder
Miss Peake (Ali Kish) is a hearty country woman who is also a gardener.


Spider's Web was Agatha Christie's second most successful play, after The Mousetrap. "It appears at first to be the typical detective thriller play she was well-known for but it's also a play with comedy," Donna said. "It's the only time she incorporated both. Comedy is not any easy genre to direct the adage 'timing is everything' absolutely applies to this play.

Agatha Christie, Spider's Web, Old Mill Theatre, performing arts, whodunit, comedy, stage, suspense, humour, murder
Oliver Costello (Chris Kennedy) is suspected of shading dealings in Agatha Christie's Spider's Web.

"The characters are given funny lines but, in delivering those lines or performing sight gags, they have to be timed perfectly or it all falls flat. Then there's the other side of the play, dealing with murders and murderers, and we have to make it all work together."

Agatha Christie, Spider's Web, Old Mill Theatre, performing arts, whodunit, comedy, stage, suspense, humour, murder
Alan Kennedy is the irascible Hugo Birch, the local justice of the peace.


Both directors have known each other for 50 years, after originally going to school together. Donna was previously the State Manager of Musica Viva and has directed with the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of WA three times over the past 30 years.

Agatha Christie, Spider's Web, Old Mill Theatre, performing arts, whodunit, comedy, stage, suspense, humour, murder
Nothing escapes the attention of butler Elgin (Guy Shepherd).


Each time, the show was I've Got A Little List, co-written with her musical director husband Andrew. June was previously a professional stage actor in the UK during the 1980s.

Agatha Christie, Spider's Web, Old Mill Theatre, performing arts, whodunit, comedy, stage, suspense, humour, murder
Sir Roland Delahaye (Ron Crittall) is Clarissa's guardian, friend and adviser.

"June and I were originally looking for a comedy play to direct at the Old Mill Theatre," Donna said. "But when we came across this Agatha Christie comedy-thriller, it was too good to resist. It has the tension of a whodunit alongside some humorous characters."

Agatha Christie, Spider's Web, Old Mill Theatre, performing arts, whodunit, comedy, stage, suspense, humour, murder
The grim reaper haunts Clarissa (Jennifer McGrath) in Agatha Christie's Spider's Web.


Jennifer McGrath plays Clarissa. "She is very much a fantasist," Jennifer said. "She's a bit of a playful tease but can put her foot down when she wants to. Clarissa's had a good schooling in the 'treat them mean, keep them keen' approach but, most of all, she's fun!

Agatha Christie, Spider's Web, Old Mill Theatre, performing arts, whodunit, comedy, stage, suspense, humour, murder
Inspector Lord (Ashvath Singh Kunadi) doesn't miss a thing but doesn' let on.

"Giving her some depth is the main challenge, given the play is a murder-mystery and Clarissa is written as a comical character. There needs to be an element of belief the murder really did take place and, to evoke that, it becomes a serious matter. The play touches on serious topics and Clarissa needs to adopt a change in her demeanour to reference them appropriately."

Agatha Christie, Spider's Web, Old Mill Theatre, performing arts, whodunit, comedy, stage, suspense, humour, murder
Agatha Christie's Spider's Web features Bruce Morrin as Constable Jones.


Acting from age five, Jennifer has worked professionally in London, Dublin and Sydney and, since moving to Perth, has been involved with the Old Mill, Playlovers, KADS, Garrick, Stirling and Melville Theatres and the Irish Theatre Players. Last year, she appeared in August: Osage County, winner of best play at the annual Finley Awards.

Agatha Christie, Spider's Web, Old Mill Theatre, performing arts, whodunit, comedy, stage, suspense, humour, murder
The elegant Jeremy Warrender (Mark Tilly) is a guest at the house.

"I have never done an Agatha Christie play before," Jennifer said. "Having done some research, I realised this was her second most popular play after The Mousetrap, so I wanted to audition. The Old Mill Theatre is also a great venue."

Agatha Christie, Spider's Web, Old Mill Theatre, performing arts, whodunit, comedy, stage, suspense, humour, murder
Peter Walmsley plays Henry Hailsham-Brown, Clarissa's husband.


Agatha Christie's Spider's Web plays 7.30pm March 18, 19, 20, 21, 25 26, 27 and 28 with a 2pm matinee March 22. Tickets are $25, $20 concession book at www.trybooking.com/BHLEV. The heritage-listed Old Mill Theatre is on the corner of Mends Street and Mill Point Road, South Perth (opposite the Windsor Hotel and Australia Post).

Agatha Christie, Spider's Web, Old Mill Theatre, performing arts, whodunit, comedy, stage, suspense, humour, murder
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Why? Agatha Christie is renowned for her murder-mysteries but this is the only time she ever added comedy to the mix.
When: 7.30pm March 18, 19, 20, 21, 25 26, 27 and 28 with a 2pm matinee March 22
Where: Old Mill Theatre, Mends Street, South Perth
Cost: $25, $20 concession
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