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Metro Theatre

R. C. Sheriff's Home at Seven

Dates 30 September - 28 October 2006 Venue Metro Theatre, Vancouver Director John Hedgecock

Reviewer Ed Farolan

It was an extraordinary opening night for Metro's second play of the season. Before the play ended, with one scene left, a special intermission was called because one of the actors, Yvonne Arnason, fell ill. Director Hedgecock made the announcement and said that Metro's president, Valerie Dearden, was going to read the last scene. A classic example of "the show must go on," and Dearden not only read her lines but even acted out the part. Good work, Valerie!

The play was a bit slow, typical of a period play. Paul Fisher (David Preston), John Cole (Doctor Sparling) and Keith Stark (Inspector Hemingway) were also not projecting enough. Harry Seddon (Major Watson), Yvonne Arneson (Janet Preston), Don Glossop (Mr. Petherbridge), and Nina Shoroplova (Peggy Dobson) were more energetic. I think for an audience composed of senior citizens, it might be a good idea to say the lines slower and to project more.

I was impressed by the set design and the period costumes; I almost thought I was in one of London's West End theatres.

R. C. Sheriff (1896-1975) was a prolific writer, having written eight novels, an autobiography, nineteen plays and twenty-two screenplays and film adaptations. He was often featured on BBC radio, as a commentator on public affairs. His screen adaptations include some very well-known titles such as The Invisible Man and Goodbye Mr. Chips (1933), The Four Feathers (’36), Lady Hamilton (’41), Odd Man Out (’45), No Highway (’55) and Dam Busters (’55).

This whodunnit play was written and is set in 1950, five years after the end of World War II, and there is a connection between the story and the Second World War for David Preston, a quiet, home-loving man. He comes home one day,and finds out that it's a Tuesday, and not the Monday he thought it was.

Where has he been for twenty-four hours? What has happened? He cannot explain. We can only guess that he has suffered amnesia. Then we discover that during those twenty-four hours there has been both a robbery and a murder, and all indications seem to point at him.

This tense, gripping mystery will keep you guessing until the very end.

© 2006 Ed Farolan