Murder On Arrival (1959) Westminster Theatre, London – Rare Poster + Programme Found!
Picture: Murder On Arrival Original Poster – Westminster Theatre, London (1959)
This play was Ian Hendry’s penultimate stage performance before his breakthrough came in television the following year with Police Surgeon (1960) followed soon after by The Avengers (1961). He would perform just once more on stage in Hedda Gabler at the Oxford Playhouse in February 1960 before taking a break from theatre related work until 1970.
Murder On Arrival (1959)
In Murder On Arrival, Ian played the part of Steve Taylor, a young man just out of the army, who mysteriously arrives and declares he has been invited to come live at Brook Hollow.
Author: George Batson
Play: Dramatic Comedy/ Mystery/Thriller
Time Period: 1950s
Setting Of Play:The living room of Jane Palmer’s house in Brook Hollow, on the outskirts of a small town in northern New York. Spring.
The story concerns Jane Palmer, widowed young artist, who is involved in sinister happenings when she rents charming but lonely Brook Hollow. The cottage had been the scene of murder years before and Jane finds a new mystery when a corpse is discovered practically upon her arrival. Surrounded by uneasy neighbours numbering Kitty and Peter Collier and Fred, a former suitor, Jane soon finds reasons to suspect all of them. Events become more puzzling when Steve Taylor, handsome and just out of the army, arrives and declares he has been invited to come live at Brook Hollow by the mysterious slain man. Jane, too, is considered a suspect and is swiftly plunged into unexpected thrills, comedy and romance. At the end of the play in a terrifying climax she, at the risk of her own life, employs a strategy that cleverly exposes the killer.
“Top Teaser Whodunnit.” – The Star, London
Original Programme – Murder On Arrival (1959)
Picture: Murder On Arrival – Westminster Theatre Original Programme (1959)
Picture: Murder On Arrival – Performance and Production Notes. Extract from The London Stage 1950-1959: A Calendar of Productions, Performers, and Personnel By J. P. Wearing
It will be interesting to see if we can track down any of these reviews of the play mentioned in the extract above.
Westminster Theatre – London
The Westminster Theatre was a London theatre, on Palace Street in Westminster. It was originally built as the Charlotte Chapel in 1766, which was altered and given a new frontage for use as a cinema from 1924 onwards.
Picture: St. James Picture House (c.1924)
It finally became a theatre in 1931 after radical alterations. By the time it fell out of use in the late 20th century, it had been remodelled twice more (in 1966 and 1972) and had three storeys, a 560-seat main house and a 100-seat studio theatre.
The theatre was bought by the Westminster Memorial Trust in April 1946 as a memorial to men in Moral Re-Armament who gave their lives in World War II. The Trust held it for more than 30 years. In the 1950s and 1960s it was the base for Furndel Productions, run by actor Alan Badel and producer William Anthony Furness.
Picture: Westminster Theatre (1966)
A long campaign to save it from demolition by its then owners ended when a fire destroyed 75% of the building on 27 June 2002, with demolition coming soon afterwards.
In May 2009, plans for a new 314-seat theatre and a smaller cabaret stage, flats and a restaurant, all situated on the site of the original building, were given approval by Westminster City Council. The new St James Theatre opened in September 2012
Picture: The new St. James Theatre (2012)
Until next time
Editor, Official Website of Ian Hendry
A detailed account of the life and work of Ian Hendry in the new biography: