Emma Geliot's picture

Nicholas McGaughey  in Undead Poets Society Nicholas McGaughey in Undead Poets Society

He might be better known for his diction than detection, but in the latest play from Michael Kelligan s On the Edge season opening at Chapter, CardiffSir John Betjeman turns super sleuth.

This is the 11th year of the On the Edge seasons from Welsh Fargo Stage Company, dedicated to promoting and bringing to audiences the works of authors that are rarely performed in Wales.

The story of Undead Poets Society is sure to delight. When Sir John reads that his former BBC sound recordist, Derek Ginger, has been arrested for a double murder, he s pretty sure that something must be wrong and he determines to do something about it. This proves to be a little difficult, particularly as everyone s favourite former poet laureate has been dead for thirty years. He summons four other equally dead poets, Dylan Thomas, Philip Larkin, Ted Hughes and his one time wife, Sylvia Plath, to meet at his old home to help him.

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Sir John takes his Undead Poets Society on the 6.12am train to High Wycombe. They assume their disguises and taxi to the Boot pub in Middle Hampton where they listen out for evidence from the local bird watching community. The suspect, Derek, is a well-known bird watcher in the area. Being dead they can choose when they can be seen, but one person in the village seems to be aware of them all the time: the lady detective, Inspector Bayley, who seems to arouse some very undead feelings in Larkin.

Dylan Thomas, played by Nicholas McGaughey, decides he isn t very keen on detective work, so he does a bit offirst voicing , giving an Under Milk Wood style commentary on the goings on. Shortly after they arrive they find that Derek has been released from police custody and they find him up to some strange behavior. As his bird watching expeditions seem to take him on a tour of the Lynch Gates of many of the churches in the area, our undead detectives soon realise that it s not just our feathered friends that Derek is interested in. He may be no murderer but he is definitely up to no good.

Hooked? You will be as before they all go back to their long sleep the Undead Poet Society helps to solve not just one crime but two.

Directed by Julie Barclay, this is script-held performances of John Hussey s play promises to be quite the seasonal thriller.

Chapter, Cardiff Tuesday, December 9, 8pm; Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea, Wednesday, December 10, 7.30pm and The Riverfront*, Newport, Thursday, December 11, 7.45pm


*Please note, the link will take you to the box office for The Riverfront Theatre, Newport, but the event isn't listed on the website.