Director: Lucy Bailey
Set and Costume Design: Mike Britton
Lighting Designer: Chris Davey
Sound Designer and Composer: Elizabeth Purnell#
Based on the best-selling crime novel of all time, director Lucy Bailey, brings the queen of crime Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None to the stage. Bailey has a successful track record with Christie adaptations, with Witness For the Prosecution now in its sixth year in London.
The creepy classic essentially gathers ten disparate strangers to a lonely mansion on an island off the coast of Devon. With the host missing and a storm that cuts them off from the mainland, one by one the reasons for their presence on the island are revealed.
Atmosphere is everything in the telling of this tale and designer Mike Britton successfully creates a creeping gloom. That said, and as beautiful as it all looks, the limited palette of black, muted turquoise and rust brown does begin to bore after a while. Massively successful though are the flashback scenes, a WW1 battlefield is cleverly realised and particularly impressive.
With pre-show drama that saw an indisposed leading lady being replaced not by her understudy but by another member of cast an hour before curtain up, interest was certainly peaked. Script in hand, Nicola May-Taylor delivers a fine performance as Vera Claythorne, as do the entire ensemble, perfectly encapsulating the stereotypical, inter-war, class-obsessed characters.
Any issues with the production lie with its almost languid pace. In order to establish everyone’s backstory, there is a lot of exposition, making it slow to warm. There’s little urgency throughout and at almost two and a half hours, it needs some changes in tone or pace to keep the interest. That said, there is a bizarre, red-lit, drunken party scene that is jarringly incongruous.
Despite any minor faults, this is a class act, with a finely tuned cast, played out on a beautiful set, it respects and honours the Queen of Crime’s classic. Ultimately entertaining.
Runs until 30 September 2023 | Image: Manuel Harlan