The Gazebo

by Alec Coppell

7th – 10th May 1969

A writer of TV whodunits and whyzits, always with an eye toward inventing the almost perfect crime, gets into a spot where he has to commit a real do-it-yourself murder. His wife has become the target of blackmail, so the writer has to silence the so-and-so with a six-shooter and then find a place to hide the body. Having acquired at auction a gazebo for their suburban backyard, the writer and his wife decide to plant the blackmailer in its fresh concrete foundation. Mysteriously, it isn’t long before the body turns up again — in the middle of their living room! Soon the house is crawling with detectives and district attorneys, all looking to point the finger somewhere, thus casting the writer in a role he never expected he’d have to play: the suspect.

The Cast

Elliot Nash: Eric Saxton
Harlow Edison: Mike Yates
Matilda: Jerry Robinson
Nell Nash: Louise Stanlake
Mrs Chandler: Molly Gray
The Visitor: Mike Meakins
Mr Thorpe: Ernest Golbey
The Dook: Tony Mudd
Louie: Roger Gray
Dr Wyner: Mark Robinson
Ryan: Peter Monger
Druker: Trevor Reynolds
A Cop: Mike Meakins

Produced by Frank Meakins

Newbury Weekly News review

Difficult play well produced

For their twenty-third production at the Coronation Hall, Compton, last week, the Compton Players chose Alec Coppel’s three-act comedy thriller, The Gazebo.

From a slow start the play gained momentum, largely due to the excellent performances of Eric Saxton and Louise Stanlake who played Elliott Nash and his actress-wife, Nell Booth; Eric Saxton filled the essential silences of the plot with his characteristic skill.

The supporting cast was of its usual high standard, although they deserved a more elaborate set. Louie and the Dook played by Roger Gray and Tony Mudd (Anthony Dolan standing in for him at short notice on Friday) all played their gangster roles well. Peter Monger, playing Detective Ryan was his inimitable self.

The enjoyment of the audience was heightened by the unintentional shadow show during scene changes, but the general verdict was that this was a good production of a difficult play.