Witness for the Prosecution - Kalamunda Dramatic Society Review

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Posted 2023-09-12 by PerthKelfollow

Wed 23 Aug 2023 - Sat 09 Sep 2023

Witness for the Prosecution is a detective novel, and was written by Agatha Christie, originally as a short story in Flynn's magazine in 1925, then as a full-length novel, published in 1948. When Christie adapted the book for stage, in 1953, she rewrote the ending - which she wasn't happy with in the original book - which remains the same to this day.

The latest production of Witness for the Prosecution has just finished its run at the Kalamunda Dramatic Society and was directed by Peter Neaves, in only his third venture into the directing realm, having directed both Sound of Murder and co-directing Snow White - The Off-White Version in 2022. I was fortunate enough to see this production on its penultimate performance on Friday, September 8 2023.

Left to Right - Romaine Vole played by Jay Shaw, Sir Wilfred Robarts QC played by John Pomfret, Mr Mayhew played by Tim Riessen

Young Leonard Vole attends the office of Mr Mayhew and Sir Wilfred Robarts QC after he believes he is about to be charged with the murder of Emily French - which he claims he didn't do. The two gentlemen agree to take on his case in court, but not all is as it appears to be. His wife Romaine agrees to testify but for the prosecution! She first gives the prosecution its strongest evidence, then fabricates new evidence that discredits her testimony, believing, correctly as it turns out, that her impeachment as an unfaithful wife would improve Leonard's chances of acquittal far more than her testimony for the defence. But is Leonard guilty or innocent?

The set was designed by director Peter Neaves and was fairly cleverly executed on the very small KADS stage, with desks and chairs being doubled up between Mr Meyer's office and the courthouse. Saying this part of the courthouse did appear very squished, but again it was a very clever design given the space. The lighting - designed by Virginia Moore-Price - was also very clever, helping to distinguish between the two settings of the show.

There were times during the performance I struggled to hear some cast members talking, projection being somewhat lacking at times. And there were also points where some cast members were blocking others as they moved around the stage - something I think all audience members would have had to deal with during the evening - but again this would have been mostly unavoidable in the space the actors had to work with. I also did find some cast members standing, then sitting, and then standing again to be too much and at times unnecessary.

Left to Right - Judge played by Paul Larder, Leonard Vole played by Kellan Thompson

Paul Larder was - in my opinion - very well cast as the Judge, very much looking and sounding the part. Keelan Thompson was excellent as Leonard Vole, starting off as the very innocent accused before the twist at the end, which even though the production has now finished I won't divulge. Credit is also to be paid to Leena Uppal and Joel Paull for both tackling multiple roles in the production and bringing two very different characters to the stage.

Due to some illnesses on the night, director Peter had to step into the role of the Court Usher - normally portrayed by Vicki Bell, and Elysha Hayes who played the 'Girl' stepped into the role of sound and lighting operator for the majority of the show, before her small appearance at the end of the evening - well done to you both.

The costumes, sourced by the cast, were a bit mismatched - some items looked very on point for the 1950s, and the different stations of the cast members, other items looked a little too modern. This was also the same for a couple of the props used during the show.

Overall this was a great production to watch, and the twist at the end was TOTALLY unexpected! Well done to everyone involved, you well deserved the high audience numbers, along with a couple of sell-outs. If you got to see the show, lucky you, if you didn't you did miss out.

Photos were taken and supplied by Peter Neaves.


!date 23/08/2023 -- 09/09/2023
262474 - 2023-09-11 00:03:01


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