On Sunday, August 25th, the Pattaya City Expats at their Sunday meeting were treated to a performance of “The Allotment Plot”—A Murder Mystery by Emma Northcott from the Pattaya Players; ably directed by Wendy Khan, assisted by John Khan for sound, and Ray Lightbown for prompts.
The performance began with the stage set up as the Baldock Allotment Growers Clubhouse/Potting shed. Bob (Chris Harman) is relying upon Alex (Charles Elwin), a local councillor, to allow planning permission for a make-or-break building project. Alex is desperate to steal the Gold Medal from Bob in the “root vegetable” category, having already started to attempt an affair with Bob’s wife Debs (Tian Wang). Alice (Aranya [Aom] Konchan) who is on work experience from horticultural college, observes quietly. Rachel (Michelle O’Dea), Alex’s wife, is in charge of judging, along with Inspector Paul Hart (Arthur McNeill), who also shares a dark secret with Alex.
Act 1, Scene1 takes place three days before the prizewinning show. Bob is trying to get Alex to help swing permission for a project to make him rich. But Alex claims that he is only one person and it has to be agreed by all on the Council. But Alex fancies Bob’s wife and if he can obstruct Bob, he believes it will increase his chances with Debs. After Bob exits, Inspector Paul enters and Alex suggests that he can help the Inspector’s promotion if he can win this year’s Gold Medal. Inspector Paul is dubious, but Alex brings up the dodgy past of his corruption.
For scene 2, now Saturday morning, Bob and Alice are talking about their entries and their different changes in life. Bob is certain he will take the Gold Medal again. Alice is displaying several herbs and plants, mostly harmless, and others that are lethal if eaten unknowingly. Alice exits and Alex comes in to be again questioned once more by Bob about the planning permission. Things get heated and Alex finally admits that he has not been pushing Bob’s planning permission with the Council.
Scene 3 has Rachel and Alex in the Clubhouse with Rachel exiting to make some tea. Inspector Paul enters and things get heated. Alex points out that he gave Paul a twenty thousand pound discount for a flat Alex is developing in return for his removing a body in the past from his site and dumping it on Bob’s site.
In Scene 4, Alice enters where Debs is in tears and tries to comfort her. Debs tells Alice about the body found 10 years ago on their site and the problems it caused. In pouring out her heart, she lets slip about her relationship with Alex and that she is expecting a baby. Unbeknown to both, Rachel has entered the Clubhouse overhearing about these shenanigans; she explodes, saying she could kill both of them. Debs leaves in tears and Alice reveals to Rachel that she believes she is Alex’s daughter.
In Scene 5: Alex enters the Clubhouse alone as his phone rings and he suggests he can meet the caller the next day at the show then exits.
Final Scene 6 brings the day of the Show and takes place in the Clubhouse. There, various encounters among the players furthering the plot as they find out about the various relationships including Debs finding Alice’s medicine and involves herself in the tea mixture. Bob finds about Deb’s pregnancy. Alex and Debs talk about the baby and letting Bob have the land. Bob finds Debs crying and she reveals her pregnancy. Rachel gets suspicious. Alice tells Inspector Paul about Alex and Debs and the pregnancy. There are arguments between players and Bob threatens Alex with a knife. The scene ends with Inspector Paul criticizing Alex’s behaviour toward Rachel, Debs and Bob and mentions the builder being outside that wants to buy the allotment land with Alex exiting to meet the builder; he is then found dead on the site where the judging is to take place.
Before the second Act began and the killer revealed, PCEC audience members who had bought Pattaya Player raffle tickets discuss among themselves the various clues and then place their raffle tickets in one of a group of boxes at the edge of the stage for the character they have identified as the killer.
Act 2 followed with Bob telling Debs on the phone about Alex being found on the site in the arms of the builder and that the builder being arrested. Inspector Paul lets it be known that Rachel knew that he had set up the meet between Alex and the builder. It is then revealed that Alex had died as a result of combining his heart medication with that Alice had laced in the water. However, Inspector Paul had covered up the toxicology report to make sure Alice was not implicated and had the builder put away for manslaughter because for many years he had been trying to convict him of something. Bob got his land and planning permission and Paul got his promotion to Chief Inspector.
PCEC Member Paul Back was announced as the raffle winner. This was followed by the Open Forum where audience members can ask questions or make comments about expat living in Thailand, especially Pattaya. For more information about the PCEC, visit their website at http://pattayacityexpatsclub.com/.