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Natural Causes at Limelight Theatre

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Popular UK sitcom writer delivers comedy to die for
Natural Causes, Limelight Theatre, play, comedy, performing arts, black comedy, stage, humour
Peter Boylen, left, and Les Lee play Withers and Walter in Natural Causes.


A black comedy at its blackest and best will pose numerous questions for audiences at Limelight Theatre this May. Written by Eric Chappell and directed by Susan Vincent, Natural Causes follows Vincent, a man from a euthanasia assistance group, who is contracted by Walter Bryce.

When Vincent arrives at a country house, he assumes his painless poison is intended for Walter or maybe Walter's wife Celia or possibly both. "He soon senses something is wrong when he discovers the goodbye notes are left unsigned," Susan said.

Natural Causes, Limelight Theatre, play, comedy, performing arts, black comedy, stage, humour
Vincent (Gordon Park, left) gets friendly with Walter's wife Celia (Fiona Forster).

"Vincent starts to wonder about the role of Walter's attractive secretary, who called for the good samaritan and whether anyone will actually drink the lethal potion. There's also a running joke about what's happening to the poor pot plant.

"It's a highly original comedy thriller, full of mistaken identities, hilarious consequences and some great laughs. The challenge is keeping the drama realistic while the humorous undertones help to lighten the sinister plot."

Natural Causes, Limelight Theatre, play, comedy, performing arts, black comedy, stage, humour
Natural Causes features Colleen Bradford as secretary Angie and Les Lee as Walter Bryce.


A professionally trained actress and singer from the UK, Susan trained at the Carona London Stage School and was a pop singer in the 1960s, recording three singles on the Decca label. She came to WA in 1974 to work for Frank Baden Powell at his old-time music hall and then had an 11-year stint with the WA Opera Company before moving to Kalgoorlie where she worked for ABC radio and a local television station.

Natural Causes, Limelight Theatre, play, comedy, performing arts, black comedy, stage, humour
Natural Causes features Fiona Forster as Celia, Walter's wife.


Over the years, Susan has acted, directed, stage-managed and worked on sets for the Graduate Dramatic Society, Playlovers, Goldfields Repertory and the Old Mill, Bindoon, Melville, Stirling, Limelight, Marloo and Garrick Theatres. With many awards for acting and directing, she was named best actress in a musical for her role in Blitz! in 2017, also scoring a Finley Award nomination. Most recently, Susan's production of Caught in the Net swept the Limelight Theatre awards, scoring gongs for best production, director, set, actor and newcomer.

"I chose Natural Causes for my next show because I'd always wanted to direct a black comedy," she said. "I also greatly admire playwright Eric Chappell, who has had many successes in the UK with television sitcoms, such as Rising Damp, and plays in the West End."

Natural Causes, Limelight Theatre, play, comedy, performing arts, black comedy, stage, humour
Les Lee as Walter Bryce in Natural Causes


Les Lee plays Walter Bryce. "He's the husband who has tired of his possessive wife and is having an affair with his secretary," Les said. "Walter needs to rid himself of his wife but needs to do it in a way so he keeps her money, which she has control over.

"The character is nervous to begin with and quite unsure if he really wants to go through with it. But Walter is encouraged by his secretary, so his emotional state varies throughout the play, which has been a challenge to get right."

Natural Causes, Limelight Theatre, play, comedy, performing arts, black comedy, stage, humour
Walter Bryce (Les Lee) and the long-suffering plant in Natural Causes.


Involved in theatre for the past 30 years, mainly in Toodyay and Northam, Les has also appeared at Limelight and Garrick Theatres over the past decade. He was named best supporting actor at the Garrick Theatre awards for his role in Cocky's Crossing and also enjoys the production side of theatre, including direction, set design and building.

"Natural Causes appealed because I felt it was challenging and it gave me the chance to work with director Susan Vincent once more," Les said.

Natural Causes, Limelight Theatre, play, comedy, performing arts, black comedy, stage, humour
Gordon Park as Vincent in Natural Causes.


Gordon Park plays Vincent. "He's a shifty character who had to educate himself in the ways of the world, after having to leave school at 14," Gordon said. "As he goes about his dubious business, he tends to resent those who have done well for themselves. The play is full of underlying, amusing innuendoes and the challenge is bringing them forth and getting a reaction from the audience."

Natural Causes, Limelight Theatre, play, comedy, performing arts, black comedy, stage, humour
Vincent (Gordon Park, right) check in on the health of Withers (Peter Boylen).


Involved in theatre for the past 30 years, Gordon came to WA in 1988 and has performed in a plethora of productions with Limelight, Playlovers, Stirling, Harbour, Old Mill, Rockingham and Marloo Theatres. Most recently, he has performed in David Williamson's Managing Carmen. "I've had the pleasure of playing the part of Vincent in Natural Causes previously and, as a result, I couldn't resist the opportunity to play the role again in what is a very well-written black comedy," Gordon said.

Natural Causes, Limelight Theatre, play, comedy, performing arts, black comedy, stage, humour
The black comedy Natural Causes features Gordon Park, left, as Vincent and Les Lee as Walter.


Natural Causes plays at 8pm May 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17 and 18 with a 2pm matinee May 11. Tickets are $21, $18 concession book at www.limelighttheatre.com.au or on 0499 954 016 between 9am and midday, Monday to Friday. Limelight Theatre is located on Civic Drive, Wanneroo.

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Why? When you encounter the work of Eric Chappell, you can guarantee you are in for an eloquent, yet bitingly sarcastic view of life and this production of Natural Causes again brings his ironic wit to the fore.
When: 8pm May 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17 & 18; 2pm May 11
Phone: 0499 954 016 (9am-12pm Mon-Fri)
Where: Limelight Theatre, Civic Drive, Wanneroo
Cost: $21, $18 concession
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