Dead Man's Hand

by  Seymour Matthews

Full Length Play, Drama  /  3m, 3f

"A teasing, very theatrical play which dares to laugh at itself and its genre until the Dead Man shows his hand." - East Essex Gazette

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Dead Man's Hand

by  Seymour Matthews

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    3m, 3f
  • Duration


    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre


  • Accolades


    Not Applicable
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Senior
    • Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13)
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

This captivating thriller employs a play within a play theme in a singularly exciting manner. At first, it seems to be the usual "Agatha Christie" type play two couples lured to a remote Italian villa to be murdered one by one. It is only when this play is well advanced that we learn we are watching actors rehearsing their own murder mystery. It is shortly after this, when two of these actors have been murdered in the same manner as the characters in their own play, that the twists and turns begin to tease the audience. Who is the murderer and what do those about to be murdered have in common? Yet even this ploy is not what it at first seems! An intriguing final twist unravels the real reason for the whole charade. All in all, an enticingly clever piece of work!

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"A teasing, very theatrical play which dares to laugh at itself and its genre until the Dead Man shows his hand." - East Essex Gazette

"The play is well written and exceptionally well constructed...from first to last the attention is firmly held." - Essex County Standard


Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Senior Theatre
  • Reader's Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups
  • Church / Religious Groups


  • No Special Cautions

License details

  • Minimum Fee: £69 per performance plus VAT when applicable.



  • Time Period: Contemporary
  • Duration: 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting:

    Although the action takes place in 'an Italian villa', the set is described in the text as having been adapted from an old set 'left over from some other play'. This should leave the designer's options very open and 'fun to do' as well as inexpensive to build.

    Costumes should be anything suitable for an Italian summer.

  • Additional Features: Special Effects
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


3m, 3f

All essential character traits are contained within the script.

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Cast Attributes

  • Not Applicable

Casting Notes

There are no special casting notes.


Available Services


First performed in 1984 at Frinton Summer Theatre, Frinton, Essex by Jack Watling Productions Ltd.

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