Murder On The Wireless

Rebecca Varidel
14th Jun 2019

"Adjust the dial, tune in for an evening of suspense and intrigue and witness the world’s greatest detectives at their sleuthing best."

We caught up with Ensemble Theatre Artistic Director, writer and actor, Mark Kilmurry who is taking us back in time for his new play Murder On The Wireless.

Your new double bill is set in the hey day of radio? Can you tell us more about that time, what radio meant to people?

Yes set in 1959 when television was just taking over the airwaves. Radio was still listened to by a huge population world over and radio drama was still popular

The theme is murder. But this is a comedy. How does that go?

Well, the first play is light in terms of delivery, think North By Northwest, or those 60’s detective spy thrillers with lots of banter. But there is a serious note too - it isn’t played for laughs but the fun is in seeing the recreation of the live Foley ie: sound effects, on stage.

You wrote one of the pieces yourself, and adapted the other? What was that process like?

Writing the first one was fun as I am a huge fan of Agatha Christie, particularly Hercule Poirot. I wanted to write two characters who play off each other and a divorced couple who work together felt about right. The process of adapting the Sherlock Holmes was interesting too particularly of course because Conan Doyle had done all the hard work! But it was wonderful to sit within the world of 1895.

What's it like being writer, director and actor all at one time? Do you have to give a preference to one role over another?

I enjoy all those roles separately but mostly now as artistic director of the Ensemble theatre I direct. The way to make it work in rehearsal is to get the best cast and great team to help you.

Are you using sound effects? How did they work back in the hey day, and how will they work for your plays?

Katie Fitchett is the sound effects person and she recreates a huge amount of live sound; doors slamming, gun shots, horses hooves etc with props that sound like the things they are meant to represent. I hope seeing someone create tyre skids with a hot water bottle and a cloth will be hugely enjoyable.

Murder On The Wireless is performing at the Ensemble Theatre from 7 June to 13 July.

Rehearsal photo courtesy of Ensemble Theatre

editor's note: as an additional point of interest, Foley is named after sound effects artist Jack Foley.