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Preparation . . . Rehearsing for the South Canterbury Drama League's production of CUT! are, from left, Adora Mann (Steve Gallagher), Darlene Withers (Viv Leslie), Mrs Travesty (Annette Farr) and Major Pongo Brown (Dave Mortimer). PHOTOS: BRAD REEVE PHOTOGRAPHY

by Claire Allison

When South Canterbury Drama League director Stefanie Crawford was looking for a play to produce, an impromptu brainstorming session alerted her to a play called Cluedo, based on the board game of the same name.

Getting heated . . . Rev Acorn (Grant Shimmin), Major Pongo Brown (Dave Mortimer), Adora Mann (Stevie Gallagher), Wolf Rechtscreibung (Laurie Shanks), Otto Steinberger (Kevin Foley), Mrs Travesty (Annette Farr), and Darlene Withers (Viv Leslie). PHOTOS: BRAD REEVE PHOTOGRAPHY

Further investigation led her to approach the playwright Robert Duncan, who informed her that the play had been very successful.

It toured Britain for two years, and still holds box office records at the Theatre Royal Windsor. The rights to the play were then sold and the new owner shut it down.

Duncan decided to do a rewrite which removed the copyright elements but kept his storyline.

The revised play is now called CUT!, a murder mystery-comedy full of classic murder-mystery type characters. The protagonist is a dastardly film producer who gathers five guests for a dinner at his Bigger Hampton Mansion.

The stock characters of mad inventor, femme fatale, local vicar, retired major and crazy housekeeper are all suspects in a gruesome murder which must be solved by a bumbling inspector and smarty-pants sergeant.

High drama . . . Adora Mann (Stevie Gallagher) and Otto Steinberger (Kevin Foley) on stage in Cut! PHOTOS: BRAD REEVE PHOTOGRAPHY

At the interval, the audience will be invited to solve the murder by picking up clues hidden subtly (or not so subtly) in the first act. There are six suspects and therefore six possible endings which will keep the audience (and the cast) guessing – a different murderer for each of the season’s six nights.

CUT! is a classic whodunnit murder mystery and the South Canterbury Drama League has secured the rights for the world premiere.

Opening night is March 15. Tickets are available from iTicket and Newman’s MusicWorks.