Not A Clue at Stirling Theatre, Western Australia

MURDER, theft, adultery, black pudding – and a fair amount of stupidity – is coming to Stirling Theatre.

It’s all part of the comedy Not A Clue, the latest offering from Perth playwright Bob Charteris.

Several amateur and professional detectives, described as some of the worst in the world, arrive at a castle on a lonely island off Scotland’s west coast.

All have been promised an opportunity to restore their reputations but their host reveals there is an impostor in the group.

As part of restoring their character, the detectives have to re-enact the trials they ruined with their appearances as witnesses for the prosecution.

“Not A Clue takes many forms,” Charteris said. “It’s a parody, comedy, part theatre-of-the-absurd and part drama but perhaps, most of all, an entertainment.

“It’s a fast-paced play that includes many red herrings and is full of awful puns, improbable characters and a plot with more holes than a fully-matured Swiss cheese.

“I wanted to try something completely different where the plot and characters are not what they seem and would keep the audience guessing right up until the end – just like many novels and TV shows featuring fictional detectives who are totally incompetent.”

The main challenge, according to Charteris, is having the cast of eight all on stage for most of the play.

“I’ve worked hard to ensure they are all in the right place, at the right time, because there is a lot of movement,” he said.

“The cast have really nailed their characters and, in many cases, introduced idiosyncrasies off their own bat.”

Following a 50-year career as a journalist, Charteris came to theatre late in life and has appeared in various productions with Limelight, Stirling and Garrick Theatres and the Graduate Dramatic Society.

Since 2012, he has written about 20 plays that have been staged around WA at Stirling, Limelight, Melville, KADS, Beverley Amateur Dramatics, Roleystone, Marloo, Bijou and Joondalup Encore Theatres and the Bunbury Repertory Club.

Charteris has also appeared in the movie Hounds of Love and web series The Legend of Gavin Tanner.

“Most of my plays have a twist near the end and Not A Clue is no exception,” he said. “I hope this one really gets a belly laugh from the audience.

“My inspiration stemmed from my role as the murderer in Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None in 2009, when a disparate group arrives on an island.

“Even then I thought it was a great subject to be parodied.”

Not A Clue plays at 7.30pm September 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29 and 30 with 2pm matinees September 17 and 24. Tickets are $22, $20 concession and $18 members – book at trybooking.com/CDWVS

Stirling Theatre is at 25 Morris Place, Innaloo.