To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Agatha Christie Theatre Company and 125 years of the Queen of Crime, And Then There Were None returns to the stage. Mum and I went and saw it a fortnight ago at the Palace Theatre, Southend and had a great time.
A group of 10 strangers are lured to a remote island off the coast of Devon, but upon arrival, it appears one person is missing – their host. It transpires each character is hiding a dark secret and all is soon revealed. 10 soon become nine and then eight and then... there’s a possible killer in the midst, but who? Stranded in a manor house on the island, with no escape and there’s a storm brewing. Haunted by an old-fashioned nursery rhyme and knowing there’s no way home, as well as a murder on the loose, one by one, the guests are killed off. But who is the killer?
The play was split into three parts, with two short intervals, so we weren’t short of tension and like other murder mystery adaptations, the plot was strong and surprisingly unpredictable. The ending wasn’t what I was expecting at all, but I hadn’t read the book or seen the film version – my mum, on the other hand, knew what was coming.
The 10 characters were all very different, from Philip Lombard, the good-looking charmer who is totally unhinged (he carries a revolver) and the woman of his affections, Vera Claythorne: the femme fatale ‘Miss Scarlett’ type, to the fragile and scatty nature of Emily Brent – and not forgetting William Blore: a secretive individual with a dark nature. I have to say that Vera (played by Verity Rushworth) and Philip (Ben Nealon) were my two favourites and they both played their roles well. You could feel the tension between them, as well as the tension of the plot – and I always knew they’d be the last ones standing.
Although the set was pretty basic, it set the scene well. The backdrop of the opening French doors out to sea created a sense of the unknown and that eeriness so often associated with Christie’s work. The main focus point was the fireplace with the 10 figurines on the mantel piece and the 10 little soldier boys nursery rhyme above it – depicting the 10 characters of the play. A lot of the drama also happened away from the stage, adding to the tension, as the audience couldn’t see what was going on.
We had excellent seats, only about six rows from the front, with an excellent view of all that went on. The Palace is a fairly small theatre, but it’s got plenty of character and due to its intimate size, the drama and suspense is well contained, with the acoustics maintaining that atmosphere. It would be spoilt on a larger scale, for sure.
And Then There Were None is being performed by the Agatha Christie Theatre Company until the end of November in various locations including Ipswich (last show tomorrow!), Tunbridge Wells (12th – 17th October), Edinburgh (26th – 31st October) and Manchester (16th – 21st November). I don’t think tickets were that expensive and it was a good night, so I thoroughly recommend booking if you get the chance!
Love, Lucy xx