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True-crime murder mystery ‘What’s Your Poison?’ to be performed in Grantham

A true crime murder mystery is heading to Grantham.

What’s Your Poison? Will be performed at the Guildhall Arts Centre on Friday, October 27.

The play features 19th century medic William Palmer, who allegedly poisoned a number of people including his wife, his alcoholic brother, his mother-in-law and four of his children.

Playwright Steve Orme (left) and director John Goodrum
Playwright Steve Orme (left) and director John Goodrum

It is the first production written by journalist and author Steve Orme.

“I’ve been captivated by this story for more than a decade,” said Steve.

He added: “There’s no doubt he was a rogue, a gambler and a womaniser who defrauded his mother out of thousands of pounds. But was he a serial killer?”

The play is seen in two perspectives. One from the atmospheric Victorian era with the doctor, his family and his trial.

Then there is the contemporary viewpoint, with a young couple eager to explore whether Palmer’s conviction for murdering a close friend was a miscarriage of justice.

Steve said: “I used to work in television and ten years ago I produced a trailer for a documentary.

“I turned this into a stage play and sent it to Rumpus Theatre Company whose work I was familiar with.

“They lapped it up and decided to mount a tour.”

John Goodrum, director of the play, said: “It fitted in with my fascination for everything to do with Victorian gothic horror, both fictional and factual.

Steve, who is writing his second crime novel, concluded: “It’s a gripping tale.

“A wax effigy of Palmer was displayed in the Chamber of Horrors at Madame Tussauds for more than 120 years.

“When Palmer was on trial Charles Dickens described him as ‘the greatest villain that ever stood in the Old Bailey’.

“But where is the evidence? Palmer was hanged for the murder of John Parsons Cook who was supposed to have been poisoned with strychnine – but at his post-mortem examination no strychnine was found in his body.

“Audiences can finally make up their own minds as to how many people William Palmer poisoned – if any.”

For more information or to book tickets, go to https://www.guildhallartscentre.com/whats-on/all-shows/whats-your-poison.

The show will begin at 7.30pm.

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