Where there's a will....
there's relations", is an old Yorkshire saying, but even phlegmatic Northeners might raise an eyebrow when dry-eyed mourners arrive for the funeral of Edie Puddiphatt, each bearing a will naming them sole beneficiary of her untold millions. To their dismay and fury, they discover the eccentric Edie has deftly outwitted them and left everything to her sole godchild. As they reel with shock, a fatal accident raises their hopes and prompts the venomous Velma to hatch a cunning plot. But even as they conspire, a ruthless killer begins to stalk the house and bodies fall like flies. Will the ghastly Donna live to make it to the alter in time and how is Elvis Presley involved? Why was the Vicar disinherited and is that really tea in those innocent looking cups? What happened to the incontinent cat and where does a male stripper fit into the proceedings? All is eventually revealed in this murderously funny farce which broke all box office records during its first production.
The seed from which this play grew came from an incident I witnesses many years ago. At the graveside of their father, two brothers came to blows over a bedroom suite left by the deceased. Both claimed it should have come to them and before anyone could intervene, the unexpected brawl sent one of them toppling into the open grave to land on top of the coffin. In more recent years, a similar incident ended with cut and bleeding relations of the deceased being hurried to hospital following a dispute over a hand-embroidered tablecloth. To this day, five of the said family are not on speaking terms. As a writer, such incidents are a gift. The only problem is to find a situation where such incredible behaviour can be presented on stage. Of course, in my native Yorkshire, Where there's a will there's relations" is a well known saying, so Yorkshire was a good starting point. The characters are the stereotype Northeners portrayed in "Last of the Summer Wine" and "Coronation Street", etc., who can make you laugh at their foibles even as their actions horrify. Speaking personally, I'd hate to have anything to do with any of them, but it's a good bet that we all know at least one person locally who would fit right in with this bunch.
This play was premiered by the Tiverton Dramatic Society in the New Hall, Tiverton, on May 7th, 2003 with the following cast:-
|Genista Royal||Jean Northam|
|Velma Newton||Jean Canning|
|Fordyce Newton||Andrew Lockyer|
|Rev. Arthur Peasegood||Peter Murch|
|Miriam Holt||Jeanette Simmons|
|Bella Moore||Lesley Darlow|
|Cissie Cunningham||Mary Cross|
|Donna Moore||Claire Eason|
|Troy Jarvis||Colin Barrow|
|Directed by||Norman Robbins|