of December, the Middle School pupils of Cranleigh Preparatory School wowed audiences with their production of ‘Mystery at Magpie Manor’, by Mary Green and Julie Stanley.

Set against the backdrop of the roaring 1920s, ‘Mystery at Magpie Manor’ follows the trials and tribulations of Lord and Lady Pica (Jack B, Sterling S and Anna H) as they try desperately to reverse the fortunes of their crumbling country manor. All hope rests on a grand ball where they will host the great celebrities and aristocrats of the time, including appearances from Hollywood’s Honey Divine, (Annabel P), Einstein , Chaplin, Churchill and Coward. At the ball, the family heirloom is to be auctioned to pay for refurbishments and save their home. However, in a drastic turn of events, the prized silverware goes missing and a classic ‘whodunnit’ is set in motion, with everyone under suspicion.

With an original and lively score including ‘The Charleston’ and ‘The Magpie Rag’, the cast of aristocrats, below stairs servants, honoured guests and the hapless auctioneer team, Mr Fortune, Blot and Scribble(Will S, Will S, and Toby D) unpick the mystery. Luckily, one of the guests happens to be Agatha Christie, a very inquisitive Megan T, and with careful questioning and her beady eye, she uncovers the culprit (Tabitha S) none other than the long lost heir of Magpie Manor, disguised as the Inspector and returned to claim his fortune.

The play included some delightfully entertaining performances from the comedy double Will S and Toby D, and Sophie P-T’s Grandmama was obviously based on Downton’s matriarch. The wonderful below stair’s servants, led by Mr Buttress (James M)  all entertained us royally.  Magpie Mac’s Scottish brogue, played by Rory G, was most convincing.  

A huge thank you must go to Form 3 pupils who supported the cast with roaring renditions of the musical score. This was another collaboration between the music and drama departments with Phil Waller, Lita Everett and Catherine Beddison directing proceedings. Our 7-18 music programme was in full display with George Royall, Mark Jenkins and Nick Johnston all stepping in to ensure a high standard of production. Finally, thanks to Lita Everett and Liz Turner whose creative imagining of the 1920s social scene was brought to life with such wonderfully evocative costumes.