Pictured Above: Catherine Maloney, Ashley Underwood and Matthew Conlon in rehearsal for Strictly Murder, opening March 7 at Hampton Theatre Company | Dane Dupuis photo for HTC

“Strictly Murder,” a World War II-era thriller from prolific playwright/screenwriter/producer Brian Clemens, will premiere this spring, with performances running March 7 through March 24 at the Quogue Community Hall. 

Originally produced in the UK at The Mill at Sonning in February 2006, “Strictly Murder” is set in 1939 in Provence, France, where an English couple, Peter and Suzy, are living in idyllic isolation, far from the rumblings of the coming world war. Their peace is shattered when Suzy discovers she’s been betrayed: Peter is not the man he claims to be, and in fact may be a ruthless killer on the run. When a Scotland Yard detective named Ross arrives, events become even more complicated and frightening. Lies, subterfuge and murder make this fast-paced thriller a dark and disturbing roller coaster of bluff … and double bluff. 

The British Theatre Guide called the thriller “Entertaining and intriguing fun …. Almost every one of the characters is not who they first appear to be.” Essential Surrey called it “a play that’s poised on a knife-edge … a tense and dizzying tightrope walk between life and death, war and peace, truth and lies.” And The Stage lauded, “What a play. It’s certainly one of the best murder mysteries I’ve seen and grips you in the throat from start to finish … the plot is full of twists and turns.”  

The five-member cast of “Strictly Murder” is led by three actors who have collectively appeared in more than two dozen HTC productions. Matthew Conlon (“The Lifespan of a Fact,” “Private Lives,” “Man of La Mancha”) portrays Ross, who may or not be the detective he claims to be; Scott Hofer (“The Boys Next Door”) is Josef, the furtive, rough-hewn neighbor and protector to Peter and Suzy; and Catherine Maloney (“Over the River and Through the Woods,” “Sylvia”) plays Miriam, Ross’s intimidating colleague. Rounding out the cast are two actors making their HTC debuts: Dayne Rasmussen as the cryptic UK exile Peter, and Ashley Underwood as his long-suffering companion Suzy. Directing after a three-decade hiatus from HTC is Mary Powers. 

Performances are on Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.. An additional matinee performance will be held on Saturday, March 23, at 2:30 p.m. Two “talkbacks” with the cast will be held following the March 15 and March 22 Friday evening performances. 

Tickets are $36, $31 for seniors, and $20 for students 25 and under, and are available at the Hampton Theatre Company website at hamptontheatre.org or by calling 631.653.8955. 

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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