Kelmscott’s Anja van der Veer mixed up in secrets and mysteries in The Cat and the Canary


Mammy Pleasant (Linda Bickley, left), Dr Elizabeth Patterson (Kelmscott resident Anja Van Der veer) and Cicily Young (Maddington resident Kelsie Anderson) in the comedy thriller The Cat and the Canary.
Mammy Pleasant (Linda Bickley, left), Dr Elizabeth Patterson (Kelmscott resident Anja Van Der veer) and Cicily Young (Maddington resident Kelsie Anderson) in the comedy thriller The Cat and the Canary.

KELMSCOTT resident Anja van der Veer is mixed up in a variety of secrets and mysteries involving a spooky haunted mansion and possible heirs to a fortune, as part of Roleystone Theatre’s latest production.

Written by John Willard and directed by Paul Treasure, another Kelmscott resident, The Cat and the Canary is a 1922 comedy thriller that sees a group of distant relatives gather at a creepy old house to find out who will receive the inheritance of an eccentric millionaire, 20 years after his death.

The heir is then forced to remain in the house to prove she is not mad; but, at the same time, a homicidal maniac has escaped from a nearby asylum.

There is also a lost emerald necklace, secret panels and a mysterious housekeeper in contact with the spirits.

The play’s title comes from the rich eccentric, who felt his relatives “have watched my wealth as if they were cats, and I – a canary”.

Van der Veer plays Doctor Elizabeth Patterson, an unusual occupation for a woman in the 1920s.

“The main challenge is playing a strong character with lots of confidence on the outside when, on the inside, I will feel the opposite,” she said.

Director Paul Treasure said although the play is a comedy thriller with quite funny material, some moments needed to be genuinely scary.

“This is something very hard to do on stage and I am looking forward to seeing if we can get the right mood to actually scare the audience,” he said.

“We are also trying to make the entire thing look like a movie from the 1920s; all the set and costumes will be in black, white and grey and we are carrying that through with the makeup and the lighting as well.”

The Cat and the Canary plays at 8pm May 27, 28, June 1, 3 and 4. Tickets are $20, $15 concession – book on 9490 9306 or at www.roleystonetheatre.com.au.

Roleystone Theatre is located at 587 Brookton Highway, Roleystone, opposite the Croyden Road junction.