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The Late Edwina Black - Limelight Theatre

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by Douglas Sutherland-Bruce (subscribe)
Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at:
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A compact and well-constructed thriller
Love, betrayal, revenge, murder and intrigue combine this February as Limelight Theatre brings The Late Edwina Black to life on stage.

Written by William Dinner and William Morum and directed by James Hough-Neilson, the play is set in 1895 the day before Edwina's funeral.

The Late Edwina Black
Elizabeth (Susannah Devenish) and Gregory (Andrew Govey) are discovered to be lovers in "The Late Edwina Black"

A Scotland Yard detective believes her death is suspicious and calls to interview her husband Gregory, companion Elizabeth and housekeeper Ellen.

As the play unfolds, it is revealed Gregory endured the domination of his wealthy wife over a long period of time and is actually in love with Elizabeth.

The Late Edwina Black
Susannah Devenish, Andrew Govey, David Nelson and Sue Mainwaring

That simply sets up the plot," Hough-Neilson said. "From there, it turns into a clever, suspenseful thriller.

It's a play I've always thought worthy of repetition because it's compact and well-constructed with good, challenging characters.

Most importantly, you need to achieve an atmosphere of suspicion and uncertainty which is helped by the Victorian setting with its formality and sombre lighting.

Each actor must also know their character well and its place in the story."

A professional actor, on and off, for the past 62 years, Hough-Neilson has a wealth of experience behind him – and then some.

He studied at London Drama School, then spent three years learning and performing a play a week in repertory theatre and appeared in the number one West End play Summer Seasons. Numerous UK television appearances followed, along with radio work and various commercials.

In WA, Hough-Neilson has worked with Stirling, Limelight and Playlovers Theatres over the past 23 years, performing in or directing productions such as Breaker Morant, Showboat, The Sound of Music, Phantom of the Opera, My Fair Lady, The Importance of Being Earnest, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Hobson's Choice.

The Late Edwina Black
Sue Mainwaring, right, plays housekeeper Ellen who sees Elizabeth (Susannah Devenish) as a threat to the stability of the house

His 2006 production of The Judas Kiss at Playlovers received best director, best play, best costumes and best supporting actor accolades at the annual Finley Awards.

Hough-Neilson has also previously directed The Late Edwina Black – it marked his first time in the director's chair at Stirling Theatre in 1991.

"To succeed, the play doesn't need to be different as such but played to its best possible interpretation and presentation," he said.

"It's a good, well-written example of this genre and should be well-received and enjoyed."

The Late Edwina Black
plays at 8pm, February 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23 –tickets are $20 adults, $17 concession.

Book on 9571 8591 between 9am and midday, Monday to Friday, or online.

Limelight Theatre is located on Civic Drive, Wanneroo.

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Why? A clever, suspenseful thriller
When: 8:00pm
Phone: 9571 8591
Where: Limelight Theatre, Civic Drive, Wanneroo
Cost: $20 and $17
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