Eastern Angles reopen with the comic adventures of a film noir vicar

Suffolk's ancient bishops charged with protecting the Chillesford Chough in Eastern Angles revised Christmas show

Suffolk's ancient bishops charged with protecting the Chillesford Chough in Eastern Angles revised Christmas show - Credit: Mike Kwasniak

If you ever needed confirmation that the world is slowly returning to normal then the appearance of a delayed but still hugely enjoyable Eastern Angles Christmas Show at the Sir John Mills Theatre, is just the tonic we all need.

Penned by the ever-reliable Julian Harries and directed by astern Angles founder Ivan Cutting, Sam Snape and the Curse of the Chillesford Chough blends the tough-talking, gumshoe 1940s film noir detective story with ghostly tales taken from East Anglian folklore.

The Coconut Beach Club, the east Suffolk dive, where the criminal underworld hangs out

The Coconut Beach Club, the east Suffolk dive, where the criminal underworld hangs out in Sam Snaoe and the Curse of the Chillesford Chough - Credit: Mike Kwasniak

Like most film noir stories, the action is propelled by the not-so-internal monologues uttered by our hard-bitten hero, Sam Snape, who, for once, is not an world-weary private eye but instead a rural vicar with a secret passion for ‘Wall of Death’ motorcycle riding.

He’s also intrigued by a sudden plague of exploding sheep which seems to have over-run the village of Chillesford. The war has just ended and locals are passing off the phenomenon as mine clearance but Sam Snape is not so sure. Could there be a more sinister explanation?

The more he digs for the truth, the more mysterious things become. The area’s ancient past seems to be catching up with him. Alluring and dangerous strangers enter his life and he finds himself caught up in the search for the mysterious Chillesford Chough – and who is the peculiar helmeted figure following him on the squeaky bicycle?

Sam Snape, the motorcycle riding vicar, comes a cropper on the Wall of Death

Sam Snape, the motorcycle riding vicar, comes a cropper on the Wall of Death in the revised Eastern Angles Christmas show - Credit: Mike Kwasniak

The show is as surreal and bizarre as you would expect from an Eastern Angles Christmas Show – a cultural institution which makes a seamless jump from the season of goodwill to the lazy, hazy days of summer.

With the exception of Robin Hemmings, who had previously starred in The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart the other three performers - Ellen Chivers, Elizabeth Wofford and Cameron Johnson – are all new to the madness of an Eastern Angles production but they throw themselves into the fray with great gusto.

Most Read

This latest production is produced with social distancing in mind with a limited audience seated at tables ‘cabaret-style’ with the action taking place against an impressive, multi-panelled art-deco backcloth onto which some wonderfully imaginative audio-visual footage is projected to give the production some added atmosphere.

In addition to the live performance, audiences have the opportunity to watch a live stream of the show which also benefits from specially shots 

Sam Snape and the Curse of the Chillesford Chough, by Julian Harries, runs at Sir John Mills Theatre until June 19. Tickets for both the physical and online performances can be booked here

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter