Tag Archives: Agathie Christie

UTS BACKSTAGE PRESENTS ‘AND THEN THERE WERE NONE’ @ BON MARCHE STUDIO

UTS Backstage is back for its final show of the year, and coinciding with Agathie Christe’s 125th anniversary the Company has chosen one of Christie’s most popular stage adaptations, AND THEN THERE WERE NONE.

This Christie play follows ten seemingly unrelated people, who are lured to the isolated ‘Soldier Island’ for separate reasons, none of who are aware of their mysterious host’s deadly intentions. They soon begin to drop dead, one by one, as they discover that all of them have been previously implicit in the death(s) of other human beings and are now atoning for their sins.  Continue reading UTS BACKSTAGE PRESENTS ‘AND THEN THERE WERE NONE’ @ BON MARCHE STUDIO

A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED

A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED. Pic James Morgan
Debra Lawrence as Letitia Blacklock in Christie’s
A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED. Pic James Morgan

I doubt you will pick  this whodunit. This is an excellent production of ‘a good old fashioned’ classic murder mystery as crafted by the Queen of Crime Dame Agatha Christie  in ‘the golden era’ .  It is oh so utterly British , a genteel  village murder mystery.

The original book was first published in 1950. A Murder Is Announced takes place in the village of Chipping Cleghorn and is set in Letitia’s house, Little Paddocks. It is a Friday 13th October and a murder is announced in the local paper. With Dame Agatha’s meticulous , convoluted  plotting there are plenty of red herrings , disguises, fake identities,  – is anyone really who they claim to be? – unexpected twists , long lost relatives , lots of suspects. And the motive behind it all is greed, lots and lots of money … or , at least possibly … (Letiticia will apparently inherit a fortune from the mysterious unseen millionaires, the Goedlers, who she used to work for). Or will she?! Cui bono?, as the saying is  .

Linda Bewick’s drawing room set, (two rooms actually – and why is one door sealed?) is wonderfully realised. Suzy Strout’s marvellous costumes and styling, (for Letitia and  Julia especially) and  the well-crafted lighting, sound and music (Matt Cox, David Tonion and Max Lambert) – all meld to create a clearly  illustrated world where the characters come across authentically.

Director Darren Yap with his excellent cast of eleven has got it just right and it is great to see some challenging roles for women. There are eerie blackouts and explosions and at a couple of points audible gasps and other reactions from the audience which nowadays is somewhat unusual .The tension of the piece is well developed and carried over both acts.

Debra Lawrance as the apparently threatened Letitia Blacklock is marvellous, all exquisite twinset and pearls and cool, calm elegance with a ‘stiff upper lip’. But what deep, dark secrets is she hiding ?Another  major role is that of Deirdre Rubenstein as Bunny , Letita’s friend and companion,  who is slightly mad – or is she?!

Others in the cast include Robert Grubb as the seemingly inept ,  rather craggy Inspector Cradock in a terrific performance. Carmen Duncan is elegant but rather highly strung and nervous as Mrs Swettenham and James Beck is imposing as her  author son Edmund.

The bright, energetic young things,- Libby Munro,( Phillipa)  Nathaniel Middleton ( Patrick)  and Elizabeth Sebben ( Julia) are delectably enigmatic  in their various roles. Victoria Haralabidou has much fun totally stealing the show as Mitzi, Letitia’s rather surly and strange parlour maid and cook, in a strong performance featuring great comic timing.

Miss Marple herself, quiet either in a corner knitting or energetically re-enacting scene- of- the- crime movements, is brilliantly played by Judi Farr who is perfect in the role. As Miss Marple she is a gentle, gracious and unassuming  busy body yet also has an agile and incisive mind.

If you like Agatha Christie (or Midsomer Murders) treat yourself and go see this terrific production.  Running time is 2 hours 20 mins including one interval.

A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED – a Miss Marple Mystery, is playing the Sydney Theatre until October 27 and then moves to the Comedy Theatre, Melbourne playing there from October 30 to December 4, 2013.

 

MURDER ON THE NILE

Martin Estridge (William) and Courtney Bain (Christina) in MURDER ON THE NILE. Pic Mark Banks
A touchy moment between Martin Estridge (William) and Courtney Bain (Christina) in Agathie Christie’s MURDER ON THE NILE. Pic Mark Banks

Agathie Christie’s 1944 play MURDER ON THE NILE, based on her 1937 novel DEATH ON THE NILE, is the new production at the inner city Genesian Theatre.

On board a steamer, cruising under the scorching Egyptian sun, honeymooners Simon Mostyn and his wealthy socialite wife Kay find themselves being pursued by Jackie, an old flame of the newly wedded groom and Kay’s former best friend… Then tragedy strikes… A body is discovered. All fingers point to Jackie. But to use the old chestnut, not everything is what it seems, and holidaying cleric Canon Pennefather is drawn into a web of intrigue and deceit as he finds himself on the trail of a ruthless murderer.

Genesian theatre patrons love a good murder mystery and Nanette Frew’s current production does not disappoint.

My pick of the cast was Ros Richards who was wonderful as the ditzy, snobby Helen ffoliot- ffoulkes. Courtney Bain showed some nice touches as Helen’s sensitive niece, Christina

Michael Barnacoat impressed as Canon Ambrose Pennefather, who, with great zeal, took it on himself to get to the bottom of the murders. Noemie Jounot had the role of Kay’s French maid Louise down pat, Martin Estridge was fun as the cynical, wise-cracking William Smith. Less satisfying was Vincent O’Neill’s portrayal of Dr Bessner, which has not found its mark yet.

Frew’s creative team contributed well,- Timothy M Carter with his lighting, Michael Schell’s soundscape, Susan Carveth’s period costumes and an outstanding set by Owen Gimblett’s depicting the observation salon of the paddle steamer ‘Lotus’.

The ‘Lotus’ will keep drifting along the great Nile river, somewhere between Shellal and Wadi Halfa, until it docks into port with the final show on  Saturday October 5, 2013.