And Then There Were None
Mon 26 to Sat 31 October 2015
Evenings 7.30pm, Matinees Wed & Sat 2.30pm
£15 – £30
Agatha Christie was a member of the genius club, & like that other prolific pensperson, William Shakespeare, her muse was designed to entertain. In the past century or so hundreds of millions of people have been pinned to their seat wondering & trying to work out whodunnit, & at the end after the ‘Big Reveal’ go ‘OMG, of course it was him/her, the clues were soooooo obvious.’ Her masterpiece in both the popular & the critical eye, was the above-titled, ‘And Then There Were None,‘ adapted for the stage by the excellent & well-established Agatha Christie Theatre Company.
Christie began life as a poet, her first ever writings, carefully inscribed in her exercise book of 1901, read; ‘There was once a pretty cowslip / And a pretty flower too / But yet she cried & petted / all for a robe of blue.‘ Thirty years later, & at the peak of her powers, she produced another poem, written by some ‘homicidal lunatic’ who has lured 10 strangers to an island off the coast of Devon in order to be summarily executed for ‘murders’ they had gotten away with in the past. Christie is here pointing a sardonic finger at that upper stratum of society which, in the late imperial era, thought they could ‘get away with it,’ that away from their ‘nudity & gramaphones half-the-night‘ ‘accidentally’ running over a young couple in your flash sports car was a terrible nuisance as one’s licence was taken off one for a whole year. The ten ‘murders’ which Christie chose all seem echoes of reality, & one gets the feeling that she was observing society at the time – in the news, at social events – & poured her findings into this epic text like some anglo-saxon Eudora Welty.
Ten little Indian boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self and then there were Nine.
Nine little Indian boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were Eight.
Eight little Indian boys traveling in Devon;
One said he’d stay there and then there were Seven.
Seven little Indian boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in halves and then there were Six.
Six little Indian boys playing with a hive;
A bumblebee stung one and then there were Five.
Five little Indian boys going in for law;
One got into Chancery and then there were Four.
Four little Indian boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one and then there were Three.
Three little Indian boys walking in the Zoo;
A big bear hugged one and then there were Two.
Two Little Indian boys playing with a gun;
One shot the other and then there was one.
One little Indian boy left all alone;
He went out and hanged himself and then there were none.
As for this particular renditon, it was all rather enjoyable, with wizard performances all round, what! Cue hysterical accusations, shots in the dark & the cast members dropping like flies. The star of the show was undoubtedly the delectable Welsh actress, Kezia Burrows, a splash of flouncing colour, hyped-up to perfection, offsetting the drabby-chic set & stuffy caricatures of 1930s Britain. As for the stage management, the predictable yet pretty decor really drew the audience into the death-house, especially during the candlelit nights when shadows danced like giants in the background. Unfortunately there was a distinct lack of atmospheric sound effects, just the occasional squawks of sea-birds & a wee wave-rush or two – but I guess this is the theatre & not the movies, so may be excused. I also felt a little cheated by the skipping of several of the deaths & their slightly confused afterwards when cast & audience members were playing catch up. Overall, however, a hugely successful production of which Dame Christie herself would surely have delighted in. FOUR STARS
Reviewer : Damo Bullen