Dear Diary, Who Killed Marjorie Pike?

Was she murdered? If so, by whom?

At the Sign of “The Crippled Harlequin” is an intriguing tale that blends murder and mystery with humour and surprise against the backdrop of a snowy Christmas winter in a remote corner of the Derbyshire countryside.

Written by the late Norman Robbins and directed by Rachel Waters this authentic production by The Grange Players brought together the acting talents of Lynne Young (Marjorie Pike), Christina Peak and Rob Meehan (who played Mr & Mrs Lockwood), Michelle Dawes (Pamela Seton)  Chris Waters and Joanne James (playing Mr and Mrs Reece), Les Wilkes (Derek Tyndale) and Leanne Brown (as Isobel Clarke). 

One of the characters, Derek Tyndale played by Leslie Wilkes finds himself in all types of conundrums as Robbin’s captivating story progresses. Typical of the writer’s style Tyndale and the rest of the cast weave intricate webs with their individual backgrounds and stories or circumstances, and Tyndale no less than others.

The actor Leslie Wilkes kindly took the time to speak to me and to answer some questions about his experience of being with the drama company for this performance and on playing the role of Tyndale.

Michelle Dawes as Pamela Seaton with Les Wilkes as Derek Tyndale

“The thing I enjoyed the most,’ He told me, “was working with the other people involved,

“Everyone was fantastic, there was a real sense of being a team, no fallouts, just everyone supporting one another.

Playing Derek was fabulous. It was the role I really wanted and I was so lucky to be cast. I really enjoyed the transition from innocent mommy’s boy to slightly strange to complete maniac and the emotions that went with it. “

This Grange Playhouse production provided a delicious depiction of Robbins’ work with a casting that really worked. Joanne James was particularly sumptsous in her performance as the vain and outspoken Mrs Reece. 

The play ran from 22 November to 1 Dec, at The Grange Playhouse, Walsall.

Leslie Wilkes first started acting in 2012 when he joined the Grange Playhouse. He has also taken TV/Film extra parts and has appeared in episodes 8 & 9 of ‘Father Brown’ (BBC Production).

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