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Lady in Danger by Max Afford

sub1 THEMES: Murder-mystery, Crime, World War Two


LENGTH: 1.5 Hours
Cast Size
CAST SIZE: 5 - 6 Cast Members
Target Audience
   PLAYWRIGHT: Max Afford
$ 9.95
Name: Lady In Danger
File Size: 4.2MB
File Name: lady in danger1
File Type: pdf
File Path: stories/virtuemart/product/lady in danger1.pdf

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Murder! Mystery! Suspense ... and don't forget the Nazi sympathisers.

Monica Sefton is a lady in danger. With all the research she's been doing for her latest crime novel she's figured out how to commit the perfect murder. And with the help of her neighbour Doctor Gresham, it's just the formula for the perfect poison that she needs and she'll have the biggest crime novel ever written in her hands. That is, if she doesn't become a part of a murder plot herself.

Her husband Bill's been sacked from his job as a crime reporter because he knew too much about the illustrious philanthropist Sir Charles Redmond and his shady past. When Redmond is found dead due to mysterious causes and an unfamiliar corpse becomes uncovered in the Sefton's closet, the Sefton's find themselves embroiled in a scandal straight out of the pages of a murder mystery.

Will Monica's perfect crime become more than a work of fiction? Will an innocent person be put away for a scandalous murder? And who will be caught with blood on their hands?

History SIG 2

A triumph in the history of independent and Australian-made theatre, Lady in Danger is a rollicking tale of murder most foul, running afoul.

Malcolm (Max) Afford started out as a reporter in 1926 and later became a radio producer, mastering the then break-through technology. Drawing on both of these skills he began to write radio-plays. At a time when Australian producers were not interested in Australian work, it was a huge achievement that Max was able to carve out a name for himself. Over the course of his career he wrote over sixty radio and stage plays and 8 crime novels, and became internationally recognised. The Max Afford Award continues his legacy. Established by Max’s wife Thelma, and now sponsored by Perpetual, the award promotes the creation of Australian theatre. 

Lady in Danger marks his expansion into theatre; it was the first play by an Australian playwright to be produced by the Williamson theatre in 20 years, and in 1944, the first Australian musical to reach Broadway. The play typifies the genre of comedic thrillers, which was well established at the time (Alfred Hitchcock’s films being the most famous examples).  It is clear why such a story would be a hit in a time of war, when levity in the face of tragedy is sometimes the only way people are able to carry on.

“…On the first evening, Max and his wife Thelma … had the satisfaction of hearing heartfelt cries of ‘Author! Author!’ from the premiere audience, demonstrating their pleasure in participating for the first time within a living generation in a now-routine ritual of Australian commercial theatre,” Veronica Kelly, 2012.


Lady in Danger is one of Afford's most successful and recognisable works. First performed at the Independent Theatre in 1942, the play then enjoyed its first professional season at Sydney's Theatre Royal in 1944 before becoming the first Australian play to make it to Broadway. During its 1945 season at the Broadhurst Theatre in the prestigious New York theatre district, Lady in Danger was adapted by Lee Shubert and Alexander Kirkland and starred Kirkland himself. This classic comedy thriller was later adapted for television in 1959 through the ABC; and has continued to thrill, inspire and entertain audiences for generations.

ISBN:  9781921390395

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