Writer: Agatha Christie
Adaptor: Leslie Darbon
Director: Michael Lunney
Reviewer: Vicki Goodwin
“A murder is announced and will take place on Friday, October 29th at Little Paddocks, at 6:30 p.m. Friends accept this, my only intimation.”
Not exactly words that one would want to read in a local newspaper. That is unless you happen to be Miss Marple, an amateur sleuth who is always one step ahead of the local police. Miss Marple can never resist a good mystery, especially when there is murder involved. Happily she’s here to guide us through the twists and turns of this fast paced whodunit. Events are never quite as they may seem, and attention must be payed.
The stage has been effortlessly transformed into a beautiful drawing room by Middle Ground Theatre Company which is also designed by the show’s director Michael Lunney, and it is here that we are first introduced to the fantastic Diane Fletcher who has taken on the rôle of Little Paddock’s owner, Letitia Blacklock. Fletcher has real skill at commanding our attention, moving the pace along when needed and acting as our focal point. Her time on stage is always interesting. Whether she is pouring herself a drink or simply sitting down, she has an engaging quality that draws you into her world. Of course her world wouldn’t be quite the same without the inclusion of Miss Marple, flawlessly depicted by Judy Cornwell (Daisy in Keeping up Appearances) who has clearly taken to the rôle with relish.
Miss Marple is one of those women who can drive you batty while simultaneously charming you. Cornwell understands this, and brings knowing glances and perfect comedic timing to her moments on the stage. Sprinkle in the comic antics of Lydia Piechowiak’s Mitzi, and the endearing befuddlement of Sarah Thomas’s Bunny, and you have the recipe for a play that provides just as many laughs as it does gasps of surprise.The entire cast bring a great deal of fun and entertainment to the production, and certainly deserved the applause they received throughout.
Few could argue that Agatha Christie is not the Queen of crime fiction. Over the span of her lifetime she had 83 books published, and introduced the world to a whole host of iconic characters, none more loved than the brilliant Miss Marple. It’s lovely to see that her legacy is still bringing so much joy to audiences. Well worth the price of admission.
Runs until 31st October.