Having a little bit of a Hitchcock tendency in me, Peter Colley’s chiller-thriller “I’ll Be Back Before Midnight” instantly appealed when I read it in 1990. The Society got behind it, and in 1991 we staged the play with Andrew Simpson playing Greg, Anneta Payne as Jan, Lorraine McLean in the role of Laura and the late Sandy Jackson as George. The play proved a favourite with audiences at the time, and resulted in a very successful season.
Now, usually that would be that, but this particular murderous chiller-thriller refused to die. So in 2022 it was brought to the SOTS stage again, and I jumped at the chance to direct it for the second time.
Taking on the huge task of 4 lead-sized roles for the 2022 production, were another talented cast. The new production starred Nathan White, who kept audiences guessing as the deceitful husband Greg; Kellie Post, who played nervous and anxious Jan, and kept the audiences firmly on her side; Catherine Huggins, who brought both elegance and a source of audience unease to the production as Greg’s conniving sister Laura; and Brent Gardner as George, the slightly strange farmer and landlord who was the cause of much needed comedy relief in the play, as well as some of the biggest shocks.
Just like in the first season, Balclutha audiences were both scared and entertained, as they listened to tales about the ghost of the old hermit and witnessed bloodstains, a body hanging in the hall and a decomposed hand appearing. On the edges of their seats, they watched a nail biting fight scene involving a sickle and a spade, navigated all the twists and turns of the plot, and then arrived at the end of the play to the realisation that only one of the cast of four was left standing!
The 2022 production of I’ll Be Back Before Midnight was entered into the OSTAs – the Otago Southland Theatre Awards – and we were trilled to receive 4 OSTA nominations. The nominations were for Best set, Best Props, Best Male Lead in a Play, (Brent Gardner as George) and Best Female Lead in a Play (Kellie Post as Jan). Both Brent and Kellie’s work was rewarded with OSTA wins, as they deservedly brought home the trophies.
What a great way to celebrate not only their work, but the work of all the talented cast and crew who brought life (and death) to “Midnight”
Ngaire Taylor, Director