It Could Be Any One Of Us: Synopsis

Cast: 3 male / 3 female
Running time (approximate): 2 hours - not including the interval.
Availability: It Could Be Any One Of Us is available for both professional and amateur production.
Acting edition: Published by Samuel French.


Mortimer Chalke (A composer; mid-fifties)
Jocelyn Polegate (A writer, his sister; late forties)
Brinton Chalke (A painter, his brother; early forties)
Amy Polegate (Jocelyn's daughter; sixteen)
Norris Honeywell (A detective; mid-forties)
Wendy Windwood (Mid-thirties)
In a remote and dilapidated country house, three siblings share an antagonistic life together. All are artists who have failed to live up to their own, let alone anyone else’s, expectations. The older brother Mortimer is a composer who has never realised his youthful potential, his sister Jocelyn is a writer of thrillers who has never completed a novel and Brinton is a painter, who does not even let his family see his work. When Jocelyn’s partner, Norris - an insurance investigator with aspirations to be a real detective - arrives home and interrupts a recital by Mortimer, a row breaks out in which Mortimer reveals he intends to disinherit the family and give the house to a former student, Wendy Jones.

Wendy, now a married mother, visits the house and promptly survives three attempts on her life. With most of the family away for the evening, Mortimer goes to bed and Wendy - with Norris watching over her - also attempts to sleep.

A storm and the old house conspire to terrify Wendy and Norris, their terror compounded when Mortimer enters with a mortal blow to the head. With the police unwilling to take Norris’s claims of murder seriously, he attempts to solve the murder pinpointing three suspects: Jocelyn, Brinton and Jocelyn's 16 year old daughter, Amy.

As Norris investigates the suspects and their alibis, Jocelyn and Wendy have a heart-to-heart in which Jocelyn reveals she has found a type-written note by Mortimer hidden in a book. It lists the methods for the three attempts on Wendy's life, each of which could have been staged by Mortimer. Wendy reveals that she can't find a will and both suspect it was all a ruse designed by Mortimer to hurt the family. The note is placed back in the book and the pair decide not to mention it to anyone else.

The astonishingly inept Norris’s investigations end with a traditional thriller denouement in which he reveals the killer to be... Wendy. He explains her motives and method which are, of course, all completely wrong. He goes to tell the police, while Wendy reveals who the true killer is, how and why they did it, before promising to keep it secret. She leaves the house, despite Norris’s pleas to the police. The case seems closed, but as Norris picks up a book, Mortimer's typed piece of paper falls out. Is it really all over?

Note: The killer is decided randomly during a card game at the end of act 1, scene 1. For each of the three possible suspects (Jocelyn, Brinton or Amy), there is a slight variation of scenes at three points in the play.

Article by Simon Murgatroyd. Copyright: Haydonning Ltd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.