The Canary Cage

The Canary Cage 
A thriller by Maidstone playwright Diana Raffle

Three women are locked in a cellar.
One of them is psychotic. 
Two are in danger.

Debra – Alex Lawes
Jenny – Denise Wilton
Mary – Karen Williams
Milkman – Richard Harding

Directors – Richard & Sophia Harding
Set – Ash Williams & Cast
Lighting – Derek Thompson
Sound – Mick Harris


Poster by Adam Pickering

30 November 2013 
Cleave Warne Hall

25 February 2014
Southern Counties Drama Festival


Southern Counties Drama Festival 

Best Stage presentation

Review by Chris Butler

Alternate Shadows - "The Canary Cage" by Diana Raffle

A psychological thriller through and through. Set seemingly uninspiringly in a suburban cellar, the entire audience was in thrall from the outset, a woman, clearly in some form of deep traumatic distress, occupies the stage and holds our complete attention until the arrival of her niece and a neighbour. The three women find themselves locked in the confines of the cellar with little hope of discovery and none of escape. The play was full of macabre twists, turns and revelations and played out before an audience almost too afraid to breathe themselves, for fear of breaking the spell. Three confident performances by three very good actors who listened and reacted to each other in a completely believable drama. I must particularly commend the claustrophobic set, which could so easily have been played on a cluttered stage. This company however chose to construct a practical staircase leading to a half landing behind the locked door, this contrivance immediately placed the audience in the 4th wall of a subterranean cellar.

Winner of Best Stage Presentation

Adjudicator's comments on The Canary Cage


"The play was set inside a cellar. The stage was dominated by a large staircase, making the rest of the stage appear claustrophobic. This was simply achieved by a contrast between very large and small. Music was used successfully to create the sense of menace''.


"The characters were believable and the opening was successful in introducing fear for the first time. `Aunt Mary' was lost and the audience was soon caught up in the subsequent anxiety. The development of the play was well controlled as each horror story from the past was told''.

"A nail biting end to a horrific play''. 


"The actors worked well together picking up each other's anxiety and eventual terror''.

Dramatic Achievement

"Apart from the effective setting there was also a great sense of fear and disbelief in the scenes''.