Tomb Hopping

May 24 2022 | By More

EPT get farcical with Norman Robbins

Edinburgh People’s Theatre return to the Church Hill Theatre this week with a production of Tomb with a View, from Wednesday to Saturday, following the success of the Men Should Weep back in March.

The company had been intending to be staging Lynn Brittney’s comedy Bunkered – held over from May 2020 – but with its references the Cold War and Russian submarines in the North Sea, EPT thought it best in the current situation to postpone it once again.

Four cast members of EPT's A Tomb With A View stand in line in costume.

Tony Waterson, Jacqueline Wheble, Ruth Finlay and Gordon Braidwood. Pic Graham Bell

The substitute, Norman Robbins’ comedy thriller A Tomb with a View, was first performed in 1977, and is the first in his loose trilogy of plays featuring several generations of the Tomb family.

The play is set in “as sinister an old library as one is likely to come across” which is presided over by the portrait of a grim faced, mad eyed old man – the late departed Septimus Tomb.

Director Derek Ward is suitably excited for the production. “Tell me that a murder mystery is on and I am there,” he says. “Throw in some comedy and it’s like adding chocolate icing and cream to a very rich chocolate cake. I just love all three and A Tomb with a View has them all.”

werewolf tendencies

The plot revolves around a will – for many millions of pounds – being read by dusty old lawyer Hamilton Penworthy to the Tomb family. It’s as sinister a family as you could imagine and one which, from the looks of it, could be the inspiration for TV comedy Ghosts.

One family member has werewolf tendencies, another wanders around in a toga as if they were Julius Caesar and a third member has all the appearances of a gentle old lady – but plants more than seeds in her flower beds.

Five cast members of EPT's A Tomb With A View stand around looking daggers at each other.

Tony Waterson, Lynn Cameron, David, Gordon Braidwood and Ruth Finlay. Pic Graham Bell

The family are not happy with what they hear and, by the third act, there are more corpses than live members left in the cast. But what about the sympathetic nurse and the author of romantic novels – could they really be all, or even more than, they seem to be?

Ward adds: “Norman Robbins’ creation delivers a much-needed bit of light relief from the world we live in today, with its wonderful setting, great array of hilarious dangerous characters and a storyline full of twists and turns which are revealed as the plot moves forward at pace – while the numbers are depleted.

“All present wonderful challenges and creative opportunities to both myself as the director and the wonderful actors and production team. I am thrilled to work as part of EPT and delighted for them to let me loose as director once again. One wonders when they will learn. Hopefully not too soon!”

The cast consists of:
Gordon Braidwood as Hamilton Penworthy
Tony Waterson as Lucien Tomb
Jacqueline Wheble as Dora Tomb
Ruth Finlay as Emily Tomb
Kevin Edie as Marcus Tomb
Lynsey Spence as Anne Franklin
Mags Swan as Agatha Hammond
Lynn Cameron as Freda Mountjoy
David Roach as Peregrine (Perry) Potter
Mandy Black as Monica Tomb


Tomb With A View
Church Hill Theatre
, 33 Morningside Road, EH10 4DR.
Wed 25 – Sat 28 May 2022.
Wed – Fri: 7.30pm; Sat mat only: 2.30pm.
Tickets and details: Book here.

The cast of A Tomb With A View stand in front of a painting of a mad-eyed old man

Back row- Lynn Cameron, David Roach, Lynsey Spence, Mags Swan, Kevin Edie, Gordon Braidwood. Front row- Jacqueline Wheble, Tony Waterson, Ruth Finlay. Pic Graham Bell


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