Eastern Angles employ Trumpington twins to help solve The Mystery of St Finnigan’s Elbow
- Credit: Archant
The famous relic St Finnigan’s funny bone has disappeared from its home at a remote convent school for girls in sleepy Suffolk. Entertainment writer Wayne Savage talks to schoolgirl detectives the Trumpington twins who are on the case.
It’s 1936 and a crisis is brewing. A shadowy figure stalks the school corridors at night, a strange foreign gentleman is staying at the Dog and Posset, Cardinal Lambrusco is on his way from Rome and there’s that odd smell coming from the tuck shop too.
Penned and directed by Pat Whymark and Julian Harries, Eastern Angles’ latest Christmas Show The Mystery of St Finnigan’s Elbow features their usual songs, silliness and bonkers plot. Think Enid Blyton’s Famous Five meets Mallory Towers - with a bit of Father Ted thrown in.
“I play Alicia Trumpington who is 15-and-three-quarters when the play begins. she’s energetic, fun and a bit of a goody two shoes I suppose. she longs for adventure so when St Finnigan’s elbow goes missing - and I’m not saying too much - she’s delighted because there’s actually some action happening for her in her life. I also play Sister Rocky,” says Francesca Gosling, making her Eastern Angles debut.
Playing Lulu, the other half of this sister act - as well as Sister Bolt, Geogina, Mrs Fenrir and Father McNifty - is Alice Mottram.
“She’s basically Alicia’s rival, the younger one by five minutes.”
“Which is five more minutes wisdom I have,” laughs Gosling.
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Do I detect tension among the siblings?
“No, I’m very excited by it (the mystery) too. I don’t really have any idea what’s going but I want to be involved,” says Mottram. “It’s you and Billy (Buttons, played by Samuel Martin) who get all the excitement and I’m just sort of following along.”
Not so reassures Gosling, saying they need her character to keep her eyes peeled for clues.
“Oh, that makes me feel better,” smiles Mottram.
The pair have had fun exploring the often reported vibe shared by twins during rehearsals which are clearly going well; I could hear them laughing as I walked past the theatre.
“They’ve got a bit Stepford Wivesy at one point haven’t they, they get a little bit creepy at one point which is nice,” adds Mottram, who’s worked with The Keepers Daughter and Common Ground theatre companies and has had a long held dream to be in an Eastern Angles show.
Set in a Suffolk convent school, both agree there’s lots of comedy to be mined there. After all, everyone loves nun comedy and cross-dressing is a Christmas show must laugh the pair.
“There’s a bit of a whodunit, it’s sort of an adventure, there’s some childish fondness,” teases Gosling...
The Mystery of St Finnigan’s Elbow, adds Mottram, is perfect for people looking for an alternative to pantomime.
“I have to say I’m not a big fan of pantomime, but I would as an audience member enjoy this show because you can’t predict everything that’s coming. There are quite classic jokes in there but not the same thing that’s pumped out each year.”
It’s perfect for armchair sleuths too, keen to solve the mystery alongside them, adds Gosling, laughing: “If they keep up.”
Also starring Joe Leat and Greg Wagland, the show runs at the Sir John Mills Theatre, Ipswich to January 10 and Seckford Theatre, Woodbridge, from January 13-24.