WILLOW TREE MANOR

The podcast nobody asked for, but everyone is anticipating.
Apple PodcastsSpotifyAmazon MusicGoogle PodcastsPodcast AddictStitcheriHeartRadioYouTube

WILLOW TREE MANOR

The podcast nobody asked for, but everyone is anticipating.
Apple PodcastsSpotifyAmazon MusicGoogle PodcastsPodcast AddictStitcheriHeartRadioYouTube

WILLOW TREE MANOR

The podcast nobody asked for, but everyone is anticipating.

Synopsis

Willow Tree Manor is a murder-mystery satire set in the fictional country township of Branton. Jack and Narelle have been caretaking the property for Narelle’s Aunt May for well over a decade, but on receiving news of her passing, become concerned about their future on the property.

With the arrival of Narelle’s cousin Alexis, who has her own unique vision for the property’s future, the family along with their border are swept up in a flurry of events with Alexis dead-centre.

Questionable alibis, unexpected appearances from long lost relatives, and a circus of police activity to rival the local production of Othello pull focus onto Branton, with everyone dying to know: who killed Alexis?

Cast

Joanne Hartstone

Joanne Hartstone directed Willow Tree Manor and provided the voice of the narrator of the season.

Joanne is a multi-award winning South Australian theatre-maker: an actor, singer, writer, director, curator & teacher. Joanne is also a prolific producer, creating and managing productions in the UK, the USA and Australia.

Joanne graduated with a Bachelor Creative Arts (Honours) from Flinders University Drama Centre in 2005, and a Graduate Diploma of Education (Secondary) from the University of South Australia. She was nominated for the Emerging Artist of the Year by the Adelaide Critics Circle and nominated (twice) for the Adelaide Theatre Guide’s Best Female Performer (Professional). Her acting credits include David Mamet’s Oleanna, The Storm by Liam Ormsby, Stephen King’s Misery, and in Foxtel’s Deadline Gallipoli.

Andy Le Roy is the creator and producer of Willow Tree Manor and provided the voices for characters: Jack; Don; Councillor Graham; and the nature documentary maker.

As a Managing Partner for Welcome Change Media and keen content creator, Andy has always loved a good story. He soon progressed from spinning a yarn to pinning the stories racing around his imagination onto paper. His first novella, Gordon’s Apprentice is a window into some of the characters and places that inhabit his mind.
 
When he was about ten years old, Andy connected with his love of producing audio. He’d retreat to his room with friends and make short radio plays with his trusty cassette recorder. After hosting Darwin’s most successful drive-time program in 2009-10, Andy switched gears and became General Manager of a successful community radio station in Adelaide. Andy has performed at the Adelaide Fringe Festival in a standup comedy act called The Petty Four, and as Ernest Hemingway in a local production called Mojito!

Nikki Fort

Nikki provided the voice of Narelle.

Nikki Fort has worked extensively as an actor and singer over many years in theatre, film and TV. Recent highlights include the roles of Bunny in Tim Minchin’s TV series, Upright, Lois in the feature film, Escape From Pretoria and singing with contemporary choir ‘La La Land’ in Michaela Burger’s Award-winning Fringe show, A Migrant’s Son. She co-created the hit Fringe show, Mid Laugh Crisis as a member of The Petty Four (stand-up comedy and a cappella singing), and played Violet in the Award-winning August: Osage County for The Rep. She has also appeared in: The Last Acre – Oddbodies Theatre Co., The Impossible Dream – MJ Productions (Qld), the Award-winning Personals for Vitalstatistix, Marat Sade for State Theatre SA, and co-created and performed in the Fringe hit The Freud Sisters in Animals, Angels & Regular Guys.

Other film and TV credits include: The Marriage of Figaro, Beneath Hill 60(Qld), McLeod’s Daughters, Roar (Qld), Bad Boy Bubby, Moloch and Red Letter Day (Qld). She is also known as the Lamborghini Granny in the long running national TVC for People’s Choice.

Hamish Robson

Hamish provided the voice for Constable Marsh and the manager for Bulldozers ‘R’ Us

Hamish Robson has been involved in all aspects of the performing arts sector. He provided lead vocals for rock band ‘Ultra Violet Catastrophe’ 1967/68. Recorded a studio album of original material under the name ‘Rocky Robson’ 1975. Guest vocals and harmonica with rock band ‘Katz Kurio’ (1984/5).

Hamish performed a number of cameo roles in a series of short Harold Pinter plays in the Arts Theatre (1987). From 1975 to 2003 performed in quite a number of popular musicals put on by Mayfair, The Adelaide Hills Musical Company and The Burnside Players. Between 1992 and 2000, Hamish made cameo appearances in all of the Kirby Brothers entries in the International 15 / Fifteen video competition.

Theo Girgolas

Theo provided the voices for Frank, Clarrie and Detective Jones.

Theodore Girgolas has acted in, written, directed and produced both film and theatre productions on the Adelaide scene since 2015. Predominantly and actor and writer, he has been heavily involved in the Adelaide Fringe, and in the 48 Hour Film Festival since that time. Major credits include performing and directing stage production, “Tinder Surprise” at the Adelaide Fringe (2015 and 2017) as well as writing and starring in the film “I Forgot to Register for Adelaide Fringe” (2020). He is also a multi-award winning writer at the 48 Hour Film Festival.

Jane Calleja

Jane provided the voice of Chardonée.

Jane Calleja has performed with Williamstown Musical Theatre Company, Brighton Theatre Company, The Therry Dramatic Society; on screen in training videos and as an extra for feature film December Boys.

Alyssa provided the voice of Toby.

Amanda provided the voices of Raelene and Constable Stevens.

Ashleigh provided the voices of Alison and Peterson.

Characters

Narelle Farnsworth-Carrington-Barton-Smith

Age: Early to mid 40’s

Married to Jack Smith

Two teenage children: Raelene and Toby.

Narelle occupies her time running her household and indulging her passion for drama. She is an active member of Branton Dramatic Society and is a bit of a diva in that realm. She is well known and a fairly active member of the Branton community. Her Aunty May and Uncle Ted used to take her from the city to Willow Tree Manor with her cousins, Alexis and Chardonée, during their school holidays every summer.

When Ted passed away, May offered Alexis the opportunity to move to the farm (Chardonée, by this time, was estranged from her parents). Alexis declined, so Narelle and Jack jumped at the chance to escape their suburban rut.

Narelle has a heart of gold, but borders on the dramatic side, even outside of the amateur theatre environment. At the heart of things, she’s a mum who loves her kids, wishes her husband was more motivated and likes to keep busy.

She can become a bit snarky towards Jack or anybody who rubs her the wrong way.

Jack Smith

Age: Mid to late 40’s

Married to Narelle Smith

Two teenage children: Raelene and Toby

Now a man of leisure, Jack worked as an unskilled labourer in his earlier years. When work opportunities dried up, he ended up on the unemployment roundabout, claiming benefits and navigating the Centrelink system. When Narelle proposed May’s offer to move to Willow Tree Manor on a peppercorn rental arrangement, utilities included, Jack seized the opportunity for ‘early retirement’.

Jack spends his days loafing about and is not interested in finding work or getting involved with anything that requires too much effort. He is very easy going and a bit of a scammer at heart, always opting for the path of least effort.

Raelene Farnsworth-Carrington-Barton-Smith

Age: 16

Daughter and eldest child of Narelle and Jack, sister to Toby.

Raelene is in year 10 at Branton District School and besides hanging out with her friends, doesn’t have any hobbies. Narelle unsuccessfully tried to coax Raelene into the performing arts when she was very young, but Raelene didn’t take interest and appealed to her father to ask Narelle to stop making her go.

Raelene is down to earth and sensitive, but tries to cover this with an attempt at a hardened exterior. She doesn’t conform to gender roles and hates being referenced as a ‘tom boy’. Even though the family has lived in Branton for over ten years, Raelene still misses what she remembers of her early life in the city/suburbs and the friends she left behind.

Raelene looks forward to the day when she can move away from Branton, back to a place where there is more to see and do.

Toby Farnsworth-Carrington-Barton-Smith

Age: 14

Youngest child of Narelle and Jack, and brother to Raelene.

Toby is in year 8 and attends Branton District school with Raelene. Academically, he is an average performer. He makes friends easily, takes interest in most things, particularly animals. His favourite past times include playing with Misty, the family dog and video games. He would love to own a horse, but gave up pestering his parents long ago when his pleas fell on deaf ears.

Toby is at that awkward teenage stage, not confident in many situations, but can occasionally pluck up some bravado. He is more likely to be found down the creek trying to catch tadpoles than trying out for the local football team. He is convinced, thanks to Raelene’s constant references to life in the city, that life would be better there, but is happy to watch Raelene in her campaign, rather than become actively involved in it.

Allison Drury

Age: Late teens

Narelle and Jack’s boarder. 

Allison is a rough diamond. She is outspoken and a little bit on the dim side. Her parents threw her out of home when she was fourteen due to her behaviour around town. She would often skip school and hang around with the town deadbeats, smoking and trying to get people to buy alcohol for her and her friends from the local pub.

Narelle offered Allison a place to stay after her parents refused to let her stay with them. After some months, when it became apparent that Allison would not be returning to her parental home, Jack intervened, suggesting that Allison claim Youth Allowance and rent assistance from Centrelink on the homeless youth allowance, then negotiated to charge her board. He justified this idea to Narelle as a means to teach her how to manage her own affairs.

Allison spends most of her time on the farm doing not much of anything. She never finished school and has followed Jack’s lead in working the system instead of the farm.

She may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but Allison is kind hearted at the core, unless you do her wrong, at which point she’ll rip into you.

Alexis Farnsworth-Carrington-Meyer

Age: Mid 40’s

Narelle’s cousin and twin sister of Chardonée.

Not married, no children.

Identical twin sister to Chardonée, daughter to May and Ted Farnsworth Carrington Meyer. Alex is a highly strung, no nonsense type who lives in the rich part of the city. The Farnsworth Carrington Meyers are an ‘old money’ family, and money seems to run through Alexis’s veins. She is always looking for the next big deal.

Alexis is intelligent, shrewd and never sentimental. Although she shared a special bond with her sister that only a twin could know, Chardonée’s fallout and subsequent estrangement from her parents did not affect Alexis. She merely put the rift down to a quibble that was none of her business and carried on with her own affairs, losing touch with her twin due to her indifference.

As a child, Alexis would spend her time reading classic fiction and newspapers, rather than play with the other children. Alexis is vindictive, and not averse to manipulating people to further her own gains. Having had not borne children, Alexis has left her estate to her sister, Chardonée.

Chardonée Mills

Age: Mid 40’s

Narelle’s cousin and identical twin sister of Alexis, Married to Frank.

No children.

Chardonée is everything that Alexis is not. When they were handing out nice, Chardonée took Alexis’s share. She is not one for convention or to stand on ceremony. As a child, Chardonée was the twin who would untie her hair and run through the fields while her sister sat reading the newspaper and classic fiction.

Chardonée, although astute, was not interested in following the family tradition of business and high finance. When she met Frank Mills, her parents, May and Ted, disapproved. They effectively disowned her, striking her from their will in the hope that she would come to her senses and dump Frank. Their plan backfired and Chardonée eloped with Frank, never to speak to her parents again. Although they held out in hope of her return, they never restored her inheritance rights.

Chardonée and Frank lead a modest life and they value people and friendships over anything else. Although Chardonée was absent from her family’s life for many years, she observed their activity from the sidelines, pining for their forgiveness at first, then comforting herself by reading about them in the social pages. She was very close to her father and although she went to his funeral, she kept a low profile and did not interact with her mother or sister. Chardonée kept in touch with Narelle for some years, although their contact tapered off after they moved in to Willow Tree Manor.

Frank Mills

Age: Mid to late 40’s

Chardonée’s husband and proprietor of a successful pawn shop.

No known children.

Frank is a happy-go-lucky small businessman: a self made man. He is warm and friendly and can easily spot a good opportunity, in comparison to Chardonée’s sister, who is an opportunist.

Frank fell instantly in love when he met Chardonée at a friend’s house party one night but never felt that he was in her league, knowing that she was from the Farnsworth Carrington Barton line. Chardonée put him immediately at ease and stood her ground with her parents, choosing her true love over their wealth and manipulative ways. Frank treats Chardonée like a queen in his own way. He loves kids, although doesn’t have any (that he is aware of).

Frank is an accomplished business man in his own right, and is meticulous with his dealings, making sure he always stays on the right side of the law in his line of business.

David Marsh

Age: Early 40’s

Senior Constable, Branton Police Station.

David’s a career cop, in his own mind, having reached the pinnacle of his career becoming senior constable at Branton Police Station. He’s not the smartest kid on the block but is above board. Marsh likes being boss and often misses the point, failing to listen to the one constable under him. While he’s usually quick off the mark to prove his point, his point is generally off the mark.

Loretta Stevens

Age: Early to mid 30’s

Constable at Branton Police Station.

Loretta grew up in Branton, moved away to train at the Police academy and took the first opportunity to return home once she’d done her time in other locations. Loretta knows everyone in town and is active within the community. The townsfolk are protective of her and provide more of a shield for her than she could ever be for them. Loretta is competent and conscientious, frustrated that she has hit her glass ceiling, reluctant to move away from her beloved Branton again just to further her career.

Mark Jones

Age: Early 40’s

City Detective.

Married with two children.

Jones is a career cop. Having worked his way to detective level quickly, he now has his sights on he Chief Inspector role within the next three years. Jones is self assured, bordering on cocky, more interested in facts and figures than people. Jones thinks he’s superior to country cops, and while too professional to state his thoughts, is unable to hide it through his tone and actions.

Jenny Peterson

Age: Mid 30’s

City Detective.

Single, no children.

Jenny is a career cop, frustrated that she is regularly overlooked for promotion. Even though she is younger than her counterpart, she has seen plenty of men pass up through the ranks ahead of her, even having had senior cops indirectly tell her she’s too much of a risk to consider for promotion because she will want to go off and have a family at some point. As a result, she has held back on forming any intimate relationships form fear it would damage her career.

Rodney Rashad

Age: Late 20’s

Rodney is a shy member of the Brandon community. He lives a quiet life with his wife and daughter and decided to get into community theatre to boost his self confidence and meet new people. Until now, Rodney has been relegated to back stage functions. The role of Othello is the first time he has ever been on stage.

Don Brinkman

Age: Mid 50’s

Theatre director for Branton Dramatic Society.

Never married, no children. Don is an over-the-top amateur theatre professional who has been performing in the theatre before Xanadu made it big. His exuberance guarantees he’s the one people avoid in the supermarket, the pub, and the main street. He can talk the leg off a chair and leave people wishing they had the nerve to cut themselves loose.

Tim Clancy

Age: 15

Toby’s school friend. Tim’s parents run a local horse stud and he often takes one out for a ride after school. Tim a good kid, but gets a little bit impatient with Toby’s obsession with horses.

Paul Ratsek

Age: Late 40’s – Early 50’s

Frank and Chardonée’s lawyer.

Married with two adult daughters.

Ratsek is efficient and treats disputes as routine, cutting through the nonsense. He has been Frank’s representative lawyer for twenty years and has helped him out of many a bind.

Graeme Graham

Age: Mid 50’s

Councillor on Branton Shire Council. 

Not married, no children.

Councillor Graham is kind of smarmy; a sycophant. He is an opportunist, beating around the bush to avoid putting himself in the firing line of any potential allegations of corruption.

Clarrie MacIlwraith

Age: Late 40’s

Demolition worker for Bulldozers ‘R’ Us.

Divorced, three children.

Clarrie’s a no nonsense bloke, working hard for the money, making ends meet and paying child support to his ex wife. He’s a simple man with simple needs.

Support Willow Tree Manor:

Things have been pretty frustrating for the Australian performing arts scene since Covid began, so if you enjoy Willow Tree Manor please consider supporting the creators and performers by ‘buying us a ko-fi’.

All donations received are shared directly amongst the performers, creators and producers of Season 1 of Willow Tree Manor under an agreed profit share arrangement.

Willow Tree Manor was created and performed entirely in Adelaide by South Australian artists.

While we can’t always guarantee a venue will stay open amongst the lockdowns, we know you can listen to this series wherever you are.

A non-monetary way to support us is by following our individual performers and creators on social media and sharing the Willow Tree Manor podcast with your friends.

Support Willow Tree Manor:

Things have been pretty frustrating for the Australian performing arts scene since Covid began, so if you enjoy Willow Tree Manor please consider supporting the creators and performers by ‘buying us a ko-fi’.

All donations received are shared directly amongst the performers, creators and producers of Season 1 of Willow Tree Manor under an agreed profit share arrangement.

While we can’t always guarantee a venue will stay open amongst the lockdowns, we know you can listen to this series wherever you are.

 

Willow Tree Manor was created and performed entirely in Adelaide by South Australian artists.

A non-monetary way to support us is by following our individual performers and creators on social media and sharing the Willow Tree Manor podcast with your friends.

Subscribe to Willow Tree Manor on your favourite podcast app now!

Apple PodcastsSpotifyAmazon MusicGoogle PodcastsPodcast AddictStitcheriHeartRadioYouTube

Subscribe to Willow Tree Manor on your favourite podcast app now!

Apple PodcastsSpotifyAmazon MusicGoogle PodcastsPodcast AddictStitcheriHeartRadioYouTube

Check out our other podcasts:

Check out our other podcasts: