Ballarat National Theatre

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Natural Causes

Performance Dates

December 2018


A black comedy ensues when Vincent, a professional suicide merchant, is contracted by Walter Bryce and arrives at his country house. He mistakenly assumes that the potion is intended for Walter - or maybe for Walter's wife Celia? If so, then why are all her suicide notes left unsigned?
After several failed attempts at poisoning various characters (resulting in multiple poisoning of a rubber plant!) will Vincent finally succeed in killing anyone?


Director Peter Nethercote

Peter has been part of BNT for 50 of its 80 years, playing his first role in For Better, For Worse in 1968. Since then he has directed and designed often for the company, including several of his own plays and musicals – Trifle in he early 70s and Barchester in 2009.
Other productions for BNT include The Mousetrap, The Staffroom, The Best Man, Falling from Grace, Penelope, Sylvia’s Wedding, Improbable Fiction and Theft, also written by Eric Chappell.

Peter has also worked as an actor, singer, director, designer and script writer with BLOC, Lyric and BNT and played the patter roles in the Begonia Festival’s Iolanthe, Mikado and Pirates. While teaching he directed and designed 12 musicals for Ballarat Grammar, beginning with Camelot and finishing with The Good Companions.


Playwright Eric Chappell

Chappell was born in 1933 in Grantham, Lincolnshire and worked as an auditor for the East Midlands Electricity Board for 22 years. He wrote several novels which were rejected by publishers, before deciding to become a playwright.

Chappell wrote the play The Banana Box, which was staged at the Hampstead Theatre Club in 1970 and was later moved to the West End in 1973. This play later became the hit sitcom Rising Damp, which aired on television and won the 1978 BAFTA for Best Situation Comedy. Other television successes include The Squirrels, The Bounder, Home to Roost, all won awards.

Eric Chappell has written over 200 television comedy scripts and more than 20 stage plays which are performed worldwide.

With thanks to Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Contact_us/Donors

Cast & Production


Mark Kuntsi

Mark Kuntsi

Peter Nethercote

Peter Nethercote

Alice Bullock

Alice Bullock

Jane Gaylor

Jane Gaylor

Michael Zala

Michael Zala


Pre Production


Director and Designer

Peter Nethercote

Production Manager

Doug Bennett

Stage Manager

Beth Foyster

Special Set Construction

David Dusting

Set Construction

Doug Bennett, Mick Bull, Simon Carroll, Trevor Day, Alec Dean, Beth Foyster,

Jane Gaylor, Peter Nethercote, Robin Philip, Ted Varvel and Michael Zala

Lighting Design

Liam Mudge

Lighting Assistant

Braydon McKinnon

Lighting Operator

Mia Danko

Sound Design and Operation

Michael Zala


Gary Hunt

Poster Design

Ben Tovey


Jon Harris

Front of House

Doug Bennett and BNT members