The Unexpected Guest


April 11th - 17th 2010


John Covey


The Darling Buds of May


That's Life

35 theunexpectedguest

Info Edit

The Unexpected Guest will be Stage-Door's 35th show, and will be directed by John Covey. The play was written by Agatha Christie in 1958, and originally played at the Duchess Theatre on London's West End, after a previous try-out at the Bristol Hippodrome, where it was directed by Hubert Gregg. With John Covey at the play will doubtless take a life of it's own, away from previous productions for a unique evening of entertainment.

Plot Summary Edit

On a foggy night, Michael Starkwedder enters the home of the Warwicks through a window in the study. He finds the dead body of Richard Warwick, and finds Warwick's wife, Laura, holding a gun that supposedly killed him. Despite the murder being obvious, and overwhelming evidence pointing towards it, Starkwedder does not believe she killed him, and she soon tells him she's innocent. The play unfolds, introducing the line up of suspects as the plot begins to thicken, until finally the killer is revealed.

Story OutlineEdit

After running his car into a ditch in small Welsh country lanes, Michael Starkwedder makes his way to the home of Richard Warwick, whom he finds dead. Starkwedder talks to his wife, Laura Warwick who confesses to the crime, but something in Starkwedder makes him help her cover it up, blaming the murder on a man named MacGregor, whose son Richard ran over years before. Inspector Thomas and Sergeant Cadwallader arrive to investigate the crime, questioning all of the inhabitants of the house. Mrs Warwick - Richard's mother, Mrs Bennett, the house keeper, Henry Angell, Richard Warick's valet and Jon Warwick, Richard's retarded half brother. As the investigation comes to a close a new suspect arrives at the house in the form of Julian Farrar, local politition. As the police leave Starkwedder discovers that perhaps Laura Warwick did not commit the crime, but is covering for Julian, who has been having an affair with Laura. Starkwedder threatens to take this information to the police, but Laura refuses to listen, telling him that if he takes the information to the police, she will tell them about his role in covering it up. Later that day Angell approches Julian, blackmailing Julian with the information that he was in the house the night of the murder. Mrs. Warwick talks with Starkwedder, informing him that she doesn't have long to live, and seems ready to take the fall for Laura, when Jon Warwick steals one of his brothers guns and confesses to everything, shooting the Sergeant and killing himself in the process. The police leave, believing the case to be solved and Laura is in a state concerned that had she allowed Richard to send Jon to a mental home then Richard would still be alive. Starkwedder consoles her, telling her that they have no proof that what Jon said was true, before finally revealing that he is in fact MacGregor and the true murderer. Starkwedder leaves the house and Laura finds herself running after him as the play ends.

A message from the directorEdit

"I hope you enjoy the Unexpected Guest as much as I did when I first read it. It has all the classic Agatha Christie ingredients - a drawing room, a dead body, assorted suspects and a final twist that literally took my breath away. I think it is one of her best and was the main reason I chose to return to directing. It has been a pleasure to work with such a talented cast and backstage crew. My thanks to them all. Now sit back, enjoy, and expect the unexpected." - John Covey

Backstage GossipEdit

The show seemed to be hit by a curse of problems as it drew close to completion. First Micki, who had been case in the role of Angell, took the old saying too far when she broke her leg three weeks before the performance, causing Tony Makey to step into the role. One week later, David Griffin, cast in the role of Sergeant Cadwallader was rushed into hospital with a slipped disk in his back, only getting out on the Monday of the show, and somehow managing to struggle on regardless. Then, come the opening night, the dead body, live on stage, awoke from a slumber, mulitple times, causing great shock and surprise to the entire cast. As such John Covey stepped into the role for the rest of the week. A review of this opening night was recieved in the dressing rooms the following night.

"The beginning is as unexpected as the guest of the title, in fact it was unexpected to the cast and crew as it was to the audience. Lost in the fog Michael Starkwedder stumbles into Dead Bloke's study to find him unexpectedly almost dead and Laura Warwick standing nearby with a gun in her hand - very unexpectedly. Suddenly, to everyone's utter amazement Dead Bloke unexpectedly comes back from the dead - Bobby Ewing couldn't have done it better! Unexpectedly, the cast somehow managed to continue on, even though Dead Bloke began to snore and fidget, very unexpectedly. It was reminiscent of a scene featuring Andy and Lou from Little Britain - unexpected genius!! If Dead Bloke had suddenly uttered "I want that one" it would have unexpectedly enhanced the entire production. The clouds of confusion seemed to lift when Dead Blokes demented half brother Peter - oops I mean Jon confesses unexpectedly to the murder and accidently shoots himself giving the police a closed case. Until Miss Christie produces one of her surprise endings in a play which is one of her less well known works, but which unexpectedly includes all the ingredients of a first class farce. Under John Covey's unexpectedly expert direction it promises to keep the audience guessing if Dead Bloke will make another unexpected appearance. Performances of this tragic comefy are at the Windmill nightly at 7:30 from Wednesday to Saturday and tickets @ £9 are fully refundable after the show. Expect the Unexpected."

Cast Edit

Richard Warwick - Peter Rogers / John Covey
Laura Warwick - Karen Perry
Michael Starkwedder - Jamie Griffiths
Miss Bennett - Stevie Bennett
Jon Warwick - Barry Tinkler
Mrs. Warwick - Brenda Hargraves
Henry Angell - Tony Makey
Sergeant Cadwallader - David Griffin
Inspector Thomas - Martin Sworn
Julian Farrar - Marcus Carlisle

Crew Edit

Director - John Covey
Assistant - Tony Makey
Stage Manager - Rickey Davey
Backstage Crew - Gary Boniface, Mike Gearing and Company
Lighting and Sound - Inspire Leisure and Tony Makey
Sound Effects - Tony Makey
Props Manager - Christine Moss
Wardrobe - Sandra Booker
Set Design/Construction - Rickey Davey, Mike Gearing, Tony Makey, Gary Boniface
Publicity - Micki Darbyshire
Posters and Program Design - Joy Covey
Posters and Programs Printed by - Peter Davey (Worthing College)


The Best Performance Award went to Karen Perry for her role as Laura Warwick.