The Stockton Foresters seek out A Sting In The Tale for comical thrills in December run

Russell Dowson, left, as Max Goodman, Pete Keen, as Nigel Forbes, and Stuart Leeming, as Detective Inspector Berry, in rehearsal for the Stockton Foresters’ December production of A Sting In The Tale  

THE Stockton Foresters will stage their innovative adaptation of A Sting In The Tale from December 1 to 3 at Stockton on the Forest Village Hall, near York.

In the wake of their post-lock down production of A Bunch Of Amateurs, these thespian villagers will be out to prove once more that they are not amateurs at all, but a bunch of talented community players.

The Foresters will be presenting their account of a 1986 comical thriller by playwrights and television screen writers Brian Clemens and Dennis Spooner, whose credits include The Avengers, The Professionals and Coronation Street.

Nicky Wild’s Jill Prentice

Director Louisa Littler says: “A Sting In The Tale opens with two once-successful crime writers trying to write a play to pay off their mounting debts, then develops as they realise who better to accomplish the perfect murder than themselves. 

“With so many twists and turns, you will remain intrigued – or as happily confused as the bumbling Detective Inspector Berry – until the end.”  

Louisa’s cast will include Russell Dowson as Max Goodman, Peter Keen as Nigel Forbes, Stuart Leeming as Detective Inspector Berry, Nicky Wild as Jill Prentice and Holly Smith as Ann Forbes.

Gun shot: Peter Keen, left, and Russell Dowson rehearsing a scene for A Sting In The Tale

The Stockton Foresters have been staging shows since 1946, “entertaining families across York, always trying to bring a fresh twist to old favourites”, as chairperson and cast member Nicky Wild illuminates.

“Amateur drama was actively promoted to create, repair, sustain and develop community spirit during and in the post-war years,” she says.  

“Even our dearly departed Queen, Elizabeth II, trod the boards. Sadly, she never blessed those of Stockton on the Forest, but we continue to keep our standards high in the hope that King Charles III may pop in to visit!”

Nicky continues: “The Covid years have been hard for everyone with no live events, but our theatre group has stayed strong, remaining a fantastic outlet for audiences and actors alike.

On the case: Stuart Leeming’s Detective Inspector Berry

“It’s a place where people can escape their woes; and most importantly laugh together. So, like many before, we soldier on to entertain our troops. Community theatre will remain the backbone of village life in turbulent times.”

Tickets for the 7.30pm performances are on sale at £8 at or £10 on the door. The Stockton Foresters will be offering a paid bar and raffle to raise funds for the village community.  

The village hall is fully accessible, situated on the main Coastliner X843 bus route and has plenty of free parking on site.  

Looking ahead, Nicola says: “If you love the show and are interested in joining, the group always welcomes new members to their theatrical family to continue the story.”  She can be contacted at  

Sofa scene: Stuart Leeming’s Detective Inspector Berry and Holly Smith’s Ann Forbes