To Know When My Time Will Come

by Tony Frier

The Sunset Retirement Home should be a place of quiet retreat for its ageing residents, other than activities such as Singalonga Oklahoma and Cirque du Soleil Stretch & Bend, but all is not quite as it should be. There’s a deal on offer for residents to gamble their estate, winning ten times its value, provided they survive beyond a certain date. The attraction is, if they win, that residents can live out their lives comfortably or pay for otherwise unaffordable treatments. But a number of them have lost and die on the predicted day - coincidence, a supernatural skill or is foul play afoot?

We meet the residents - Margaret, Sidney, Bella, Mrs Mancini and Arthur together with the staff - Matron and her helper, Tiffany, and Mrs Powys who comes in to entertain the residents. New resident Emily arrives to try and discover what is going on with the help of colleague, DI Michael (could be Michelle) Palmer, and puts herself in the firing line as the next potential victim.

Not going to give too much more away here as I don’t want to spoil the ending! The genre is comedy whodunnit, but with a dark and unexpected ending. Somewhat along the lines of Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club, although this play was written well before his books!

One set - the Retirement Home, 5 scenes spanning a few weeks, present day, somewhere in UK - all regional accents considered.

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Margaret - Linda Russell

(60-70) apparently caring, generous yet gently manipulative; the queen bee and longest resident of the home, well-dressed.

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Sidney - Guy Warner

(60-70) - grumpy and argumentative, not happy with life at the home, but has little alternative.

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Bella - Gillian Smithies

(60-70) - indecisive, unsure of herself, a worrier; poorly dressed, first two scenes only.

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Mrs Mancini - Kay Doyle

(non-speaking) (60-70) - in a world of her own, she just sits staring into space.

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Arthur - Ian Thomas

(60-70) - bewildered; thinks he’s 92 with all his own teeth, but he’s 68 with dentures and training to swim to Mexico. A likeable character with whom we sympathise. He’s largely ignored.

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Emily - Frankie Godliman

(60-70) - an ex-Detective Inspector working undercover to discover exactly what is going on at the home.

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Matron - Jean Warner

(40-50) - very matter of fact with a caring and efficient attitude.

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Tiffany - Emma Thompson

(25-35) - busies about helping to run the home; popular with the residents although she rarely listens to what is being said, jolly.

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Mrs Powys - Faith Powell

(40-50) - effusive and ebullient; a big character; appears in just one scene.

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Michelle - Sarah Slater

(30-50) - Detective Inspector working with Emily, concerned about Emily’s safety.

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Caroline Armitage - Hannah Cramer

(30-40) - daughter of Bella, cold and uncaring about her mother, sole interest seems to be in spending as little as possible on Bella’s care, but is herself well-dressed, appears in just one scene.

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Director - Tony Frier

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Stage Manager - Linda Mardell

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Sound - Ian Santry

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Music - Chris Winslet

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Continuity - Kay Frier