The Death of a Well Spoken Gentleman

Angela Mayhew played by Olivia Cowan
Brenda Chalmers played by Sarah Foster
Charlotte James played by Lucy Wright
Deidre Bandini played by Abbie Wright
Emily Parsons played by Stephanie Fleetwood
Felicity Pringle played by Sophie Beale
Detective Inspector Naughton played by Celia Thomas

A softly lit room, fast paced waltzing notes and flower arrangements over cloth-covered tables was enough to entice curious interest. All seemed well, and yet on Tuesday night a murder was investigated right here at Wirral Grammar School for Girls.

Presented with the murder of Anthony Hindmarsh, known affectionately as Tony, an audience of (let’s face it) aspirational detectives were tasked with hearing multiple witness statements and producing a theory as to how the death came about.

As it turned out, we were the John Watsons in a room full of Sherlocks.

The first failing of many tables was taking the back seat approach- appreciating the amazing talent of all the girls who had learnt their roles to perfection, which meant they got to the third or fourth witness statement before realising everyone else was furiously scribbling notes on throwaway scraps of paper. I can’t blame them; the accuracy and realism with which the speakers all presented their cases was astounding- a true show of dedication and time commitment.

Wild theories flew across tables- did Felicity use her rolling pin to kill Tony? Were either Angela or Brenda fuelled with jealousy over Tony’s affair? So many factors to consider and the possibility of catching a cold-blooded killer was reason enough to get tangled up in the storyline.

A half-an-hour break in the middle seemed the perfect opportunity to ponder over a cup of coffee, but for those diligent workers among us we sat firmly at our table in an eager bid to get an edge over the competition. And yet, alas, our far-fetched theories turned out to be a little too ambitious- perhaps the vicar didn’t do it after all, seeing as he wasn’t one of the witnesses we were allowed to choose from. Some very convincing theories were put forward: the English department managed to spin a fair tale; the biology department unsurprisingly produced a post mortem analysis; and senior management convinced us all with their straight talking persuasion.

Celia Thomas in year 12 organised the entire night for her Gold Arts Award and spoke to us about the experience:
“Putting on this play was challenging but immensely rewarding. Seeing the intent looks on everyone’s faces as they worked to solve the case was the best part. My cast were amazing and always showed up for rehearsals, even if the emails were sometimes sent a little later than I planned! Overall it was hard work but my cast made it much easier. Thank you to everyone who came to support me!”

It’s safe to say that those who went along to the evening performance found immense joy in the experience, even if we no longer think it wise to pursue an investigative career. Working to solve the puzzle was stimulating and challenging- the team clearly worked extremely hard in order to produce something so professional. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to solve the mystery fully, so we’ll go back to playing Cluedo where we’re comfortable.

Our thanks go to all those who performed and especially to Celia for organising the event.


By Kat Bennett

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