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Domino Theatre
Now playing

The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society Murder Mystery

by David McGillivray and Walter Zerlin Jr.
directed by Matt Salton
Thurs.-Sat., Sept. 7-23, 7:30 p.m.
The Davies Foundation Auditorium
52 Church St., Kingston, ON

Farndale murder mystery graphic

Every drama group has experienced the horrors of what can go wrong on opening night, and the ladies of the Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society are no different, with the possible exception that almost everything that could happen does!

"Just about every possible mishap occurred – cues were dropped, scenery fell, sound effects were scrambled and lighting was execrable – luckily this was all part of the play’s deliberate charm and plot."

- Southern Daily Echo

The scenery collapses, cues are missed, lines forgotten, and the sound effects take on a strange note at times, as the ladies present their ambitious evening's entertainment with the cunning whodunit, Murder At Checkmate Manor.

In mismatched costumes, the British ladies fumble everything from their lines to the props, managing along the way to leave out a few scenes (which they decide the audience doesn't really need to see anyway). Meanwhile the stage crew, despite regular prompting from the cast, misses lighting cues and throws in miscellaneous sound cues and effects apparently at random, while struggling to keep at least most of the set standing up, though not always right way up.

Farndale murder mystery graphic

Left to right: Oscar Cadeau, Rob Bruce, Krista Berg, Sandy Turcotte, Liane Wintle

And just in case the audience should get bored there's a Film and Fashion Show and Murder Mystery Quiz, complete with a Prize!

David McGillivray and Walter Zerlin Jr. wrote a series of Farndale plays, including The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society Production of a Christmas Carol (produced by Domino Theatre in 2000), similarly disastrous renderings of Macbeth and The Mikado, and even one called They Came from Mars and Landed Outside the Farndale Avenue Church.

Cast and Crew | Seat Map

David McGillivray

Born in London in 1947, David McGillivray worked as a film critic for Monthly Film Bulletin and Time Out before turning to screenwriting and later to writing for the stage.

In the 1970s McGillivray wrote screenplays for a number of films, including British sex films such as Hot Girls and I'm Not Feeling Myself Tonight, and horror movies such as Frightmare and Satan's Slave.

As Britain's low-budget sex-comedy and horror film business faded away, McGillivray turned in the 1980s to writing for the stage, and teamed up with Walter Zerlin, Jr. to produce the Farndale plays.

Walter Zerlin Jr.

Walter Zerlin Jr. was born in 1950 in Guildford, U.K. He studied law at King's College London, and became a barrister. He and McGillivray met while working on an amateur theatre production in 1972. In Zerlin's obituary for the Guardian, McGillivray wrote that he considered Zerlin "the funniest man I had ever met."

Aside from the Farndale series, Zerlin wrote a few plays of his own, the best known of which was Running Around the Stage Like a Lunatic, in which he played all 17 roles, and which won an Edinburgh Fringe Festival Award.

Zerlin died of cancer in 2000.

Admission $20 (plus Grand Theatre surcharge). Tickets available through the Grand Theatre Box Office, 530-2050 and online, until 2 p.m. on day of performance, and at the door (cash, debit, Visa, MasterCard, Apple Pay or Android Pay) on performance nights when available. Seniors and members $16 at the door on Thursdays only. Children and students $10.


Wikipedia: David McGillivray
Walter Zerlin's Obituary