This Murder Mystery play should be perfomed as part
of a 3-course meal.
Cast: 8 characters plus the Landlord Bob the Builder and Inspector Jack Pratt should be male, other characters may be male or female according to your resources
This play was first performed by request in the Holly Bush Inn at Headley.
The main characters stood by the bar for their 'set pieces' of conversation, and the three Waiters roamed unscripted through the tables between courses to ensure that customers had picked up vital clues.
© John Owen Smith 2010
The Church wants to sell a field of theirs for building land. Some will gain financially by it. Villagers form a resistance group (Hands Off Our Field = HOOF). They find support in the person of the local Chief Planning Officer who is against the development of the land.
At the start of the play, some of those in support of the development are meeting in the local pub our audience hears their conversations at the bar.
We do not see those against the plan but suddenly during the course of the play we are told that the Planning Officer has been found dead in the pub's cellar [or other location if the pub has no cellar] and we must discover who murdered him, how and with what motive.
Vicar: Rev Greenfields
Councillor: Chris Counter
Householder: Phil/Phyl Pockett
Builder: Bob Brickett
Police inspector: Jack Pratt
Landlord/lady of the pub/restaurant
Scene 1 Foreplay
Scene 2 First Intercourse
Scene 3 Second Intercourse
Scene 4 Third Intercourse
Scene 5 Dénouement
Diners have already ordered their meals.
The Vicar and Councillor arrive at the bar
Councillor What will it be, Vicar?
Vicar That's very kind, Chris. Just a half of shandy if you don't mind. Need to keep a clear head at the meeting.
Councillor Yes indeed. There are tricky issues to be discussed.
Vicar Who else is coming?
Councillor Bob the builder.
Vicar Do you call him that to his face?
Councillor Oh yes Robert is too posh for him. And Phil Pockett who owns the contentious piece of land.
Vicar Who needs to be sweet-talked into an agreement.
Councillor Into an agreement that we can afford, yes. And you and me. Just the four of us tonight.
Vicar Nobody from HOOF then?
Councillor I sincerely hope not. We need to make some sort of battle plan among ourselves. Don't want the opposition listening in.
Vicar Perhaps we should move to a less crowded area then.
Councillor I've booked a private room but I said we'd meet the others here first. Ah, here they are. (Bob and Phil arrive at the bar) Good evening to you. Drinks?
Bob Don't mind if I do, Chris. Pint of the usual please.
Phil Thank you. May I have a small glass of white wine?
Councillor Bob you know the Vicar of course. Mr[Ms] Pockett, have you metů?
Phil We have exchanged greetings at the garden gate. I'm afraid I am not among the Rev Greenfield's regular flock though.
Vicar Sadly my flock grows smaller year by year. Which is why the church must look to other sources for finance.
Bob If that planning fellow gets his way there'll be no money coming to you or to anyone else.
Vicar It does look that way at the moment.
Bob Unless he's made to see sense. Or moved on.
Councillor Not so loud - walls have ears.
Phil I don't see him being moved on. I reckon he's a fixture.
Vicar Didn't I see you with him earlier, outside the pub here?
Phil Hardly. I just happened to be passing by as he walked in. I was looking at the preparations for the wedding reception.
Vicar Ah yes, quite an occasion.
Councillor I'm told they were having a - what was it? - a 'unique centrepiece' made.
Vicar A friend of theirs sculpted images of the bride and groom - in ice.
Phil Yes, I saw it being delivered.
Bob And that planning fellow was around too you say? He gets his nose into everything.
Councillor Well I think we have to accept that he'll have to be dealt with one way or another. He's 'in' with the district council.
Vicar Then I see no hope of a resolution before I leave the parish.
Bob Short of an Act of God.
Vicar God moves in mysterious ways, Mr Brickett, but I do not think we should count on His intervention in this case.
Councillor And that is why we are gathered together here tonight, dearly belovèd. But if you have your drinks, may I suggest that we move ourselves to a more secluded area before we continue our discussion.
'Our' waiters are among those serving the starter course and chat to each other while they do it. Dialogue does not have to be identical at each table, but make sure all the diners hear all the salient clues.
Points to be made by the waiters:
· The project they are discussing involves selling off the church field for building houses.
· There is fierce resistance to this project among the local population who want to retain a green space in the centre of the village. Villagers have formed a pressure group called HOOF ('Hands Off Our Field') there will be a HOOF newsletter on each table to give extra information.
· Chris Counter the Counsellor is not universally popular and there are rumours that he takes 'backhanders'
· Phil Pockett owns some land which would be needed for access to the Church Field.
· The vicar has been the incumbent for some years, but to be moved on soon.
· Bob Brickett is a local builder who has a history of snapping up spare land when it comes on the market.
· Waiter #3 plans to study criminology at university next year.
The diners eat their starters in peace
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