Doctor Gribble is one of my favourite roles. Knowledgeable, cultured, slightly dangerous but universally trusted and respected, charming and just a little camp – he’s the country version of Tom Ellis’ ‘Lucifer’. It is a concern that a medical professional has such an interest in criminal toxicology. But that is only one of the many contradictions of this interesting fellow. Another would be his skill at seducing the most difficult personalities – the crusty old gardener Hodgson, the borderline psychopath Bruce – and possibly others whose identity may or may not be revealed at the end of the show.
If you were looking for the epitome of the ‘upper class twit’, I think you would find it in Nigel Lawrence. Notwithstanding he is a frightful cad for the way he treats Cecily, this is one of the few interesting facets to him. In fact, this writer is finding it hard to write anything more about him, and hopes that the actor can make something memorable of this role.
Donald the extremely attractive spaniel doesn’t have much to say. But Prince the Irish Setter does! Woof! My role is small, butt olfactory. I announce visitors all the way up the garden path, sniff out the intentions of the humans at the cottage, and warn off any random cars driving past! I love chewing up small items of Cecily’s clothing – luckily she’s only found the scarves and gloves! At the start of Act III Scene I, Cecily and Mavis need to be warned about that creepy old gardener; he doesn’t like me, just because I dig up his herbaceous border, or whatever he calls it. Butt do the ladies listen to me? They think I’m just playing! Woof!
Text: Matthew Paines
Photo: Anni Taponen
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