Venture Theatre Company
Trinity Uniting Hall
Until 07 Apr 2018

Review by Janice Bailey

Community Theatre is alive and well in the south of Adelaide. With several groups creating enjoyable entertainment at an affordable price, people in the south have a wealth of choice. Venture Theatre’s latest production, ‘A Fete Worse Than Death’, written by Richard James, is wonderfully crafted melodrama.

Without good direction and vision it is easy for these eccentric characters to transform into caricatures due to uncontrolled overacting. Directors Lucy Marshallsay and Shelley Carman have found the perfect balance with their actors – taking advantage of every innuendo and nuance while keeping a tight rein on their actors so that they are hilarious and still believable.

The cast worked very well as an ensemble with the result being a very funny two hours of sheer entertainment. The plot involves a fete, a murder, pickles, marrows, infidelity, a guest actor who is called upon to solve the murder because he once played a TV detective, a controlling fete organiser and a Reverend who is perhaps not as honest as might be expected – just to mention a few of the quirky ‘twists’.

Valerie Lane as Miss Parmenter is wonderful as the pickle-making ‘Miss Marple’. David Giles is Roy Martin, the actor detective and the fete’s ‘special guest’ who becomes a real life detective with the help of Miss Parmenter. David and Valerie work extremely well together, resisting the temptation to ‘outdo’ each other. Jake Picken as Nigel shows the most temptation to go ‘over the top’ but his character allows for this. Kristy Mundy is very good as the controlling fete organiser, Trish. Vicki Jones as Bunny, Luke Wagner as Father Mike and Terry O’Neill as the dead husband all play their roles with conviction and consistency.

Thoroughly good fun and shouldn’t be missed.