And Then There Were None - Outstanding in Commitment and Talent
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Priory Theatre, Kenilworth. Running from 29 March – 8 April.
Review by Sue Beech.
This tale is Christie’s best-selling novel – originally published in 1939 (under what is now considered a non-PC title), it has to date sold 100 million copies worldwide. The story is typical of Christie – rather far-fetched and ingeniously plotted; ten strangers are invited to an island by mysteriously absent hosts, and each is accused of responsibility for one or more deaths. They are intrigued by a table displaying ten toy soldiers and a rhyme detailing how they are disposed of one by one. Soon they realise that this is the fate in store for all of them….
My companion and I had both read the novel many years ago and had some (rather vague) memory of the outcome – but this did not detract at all from the experience and the escalating tension as the deaths start to pile up.
The play gets off to a rather slow start – introducing and differentiating so many characters is quite a task – but it soon gathers pace and the tension builds convincingly until the final denouement.
The cast is accomplished – each character is quickly established as an individual, and their interactions are convincing and realistic. Isaac Wakelin, as the louche young Anthony Marston, helps to establish the 1930s atmosphere, reinforced by the attitudes of spinster Emily Brent (Natasha Lee) and the attentive services of Rogers the butler (Paul Sanders). The final scene allows the finally revealed murderer (no spoilers) to demonstrate his manic obsession.
For anyone who has never been to the Priory Theatre, I urge you to go – it is a delightful small theatre with a welcoming foyer offering a bar, hot drinks, and ice-creams and a warm and friendly front-of-house staff. The backstage crew is equally professional in their unobtrusiveness, and the set is a delightful and elegant evocation of the period, allowing the cast to move naturally and freely.
I thoroughly recommend this production – all involved may be “amateurs” in having a day job but they are outstanding in their commitment and talent.
For tickets and more information: https://www.priorytheatre.co.uk/