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Appeal to public over unsolved murder of Reading tobacconist

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A new theatre production, written by Newbury's Beth Flintoff, is bringing Reading’s memories to life.

For almost 10 years RABBLE Theatre have entertained audiences with stories of Reading’s ancient past, most recently with their highly-acclaimed The Last Abbot of Reading in the Abbey ruins.

Their new play, Who Killed Alfred Oliver?, however, tells a more recent, mysterious tale of tobacconist Alfred Oliver’s unsolved murder on Cross Street, Reading, in 1929. The case is an extraordinary one and it’s a tale that is creating quite a stir across the town.

The family of Mrs Oliver, who still live locally, have contacted the theatre company to share their great-aunt’s memories, while Helen Wearing of Cream Design says that her business is situated in the very building where Mr Oliver was murdered, right beside what’s now Marks & Spencer. Such has been the interest in the project, RABBLE are now working with Reading Central Library to create an exhibition of memories, letters, press stories and photographs of Reading as it was back in the 1920s for the public to enjoy.

If you have anything that you can share that relates to the murder of Tobacconist Alfred Oliver in 1929, please drop Tash, RABBLE’s community associate, an email on tash@rabbletheatre.com - she’ll be delighted to hear from you.

The play itself, created originally in 2020 as a co-production between RABBLE and BBC Radio Berkshire, was listened to by a staggering 30,000 people across Berkshire. Originally a tense murder mystery, the stage version is comedic, surprising audiences with a fast paced whodunnit produced in the stunning Reading Minster.

Dani Davies, RABBLE’s Executive director: “This is a 100 per cent #MadeInRdg production, which is fantastic and we are delighted to be producing a play that has absolutely nothing to do with contagious viruses.”

Tickets for the show, which runs from November 4 to 20 at Reading Minster, can be found at www.rabbletheatre.com and prices range from £5 to £25 with discounts available.

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