Cuthbert decides to put on a play in his rural valley, the results are hilarious and eccentric. Outsiders invade their bliss while trying to unearth a Shakespearean play, fame and fortune may follow, but corpses will be dug up first. More
At the heart of this riotous laugh-a-paragraph farce that will delight members of amateur dramatic societies everywhere, lies a forgotten village in a remote valley where the 'real valley folk' live, including Cuthbert, the village undertaker, impressario of the shambolic annual theatre production, and holy fool; Margery, the local beauty and mother of the Mafia twins whose constant creative disruption provides a reliable source of hazard and misadventure; the anonymous milkman whose flashing teeth can fell a woman at fifty paces; Percy the gardener whose still waters run curiously if not necessarily deep; and the regulars at the Mandrake Arms who drink to remember, drink to forget as plots and plans flourish in their midst.
Suddenly into this by-water of rural oblivion bursts a band of newcomers who have taken up residence of the seigneurial Mandrake Hall – Henry, a prominent media reporter and his daughter who is more horse than her horse; Henry's brother, Ronald, an adventurer, a mercenary and a sometime crook; and the unreconstituted Captain and his much put-upon wife Elspeth.
What are these rank and unlikely outsiders doing in these obscure parts and what are they looking for as they vigorously comb the village and the extensive network of tunnels built beneath it? One clue is the persistent legend that the Bard himself, William Shakespeare, was once employed as a tutor up at the Hall (thus the annual village play) and that there might still be fragments of his early work – a fumbling politically-incorrect piece – waiting to be discovered. Fame and fortune may follow, but corpses will be dug up first.
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