DramaReviewSouth West

And Then There Were None – Theatre Royal Plymouth

Reviewer: Marina Spark

Writer: Agatha Christie

Director: Lucy Bailey

Agatha Christie’s atmospheric novel And Then There Were None returns to its home county of Devon, with this touring adaptation. Set on the fictional Soldier Island, tonight’s performance at Theatre Royal Plymouth is only a few miles away from its real-world inspiration, Burgh Island. Many in the audience will know Burgh Island and its dramatic, isolated location first hand, enhancing the setting of this performance.

And Then There Were None is not your standard murder mystery. Every character has a dark history and has been embroiled in accusations of death and deception. There have been multiple stage adaptations over the years since the first adaptation in 1943. Some have taken a more optimistic approach to the ending and others have stayed true to the original novel. This adaptation is for purists and adopts the nihilism of Christie’s book. This is a true period piece rather than an adaptation of a period novel, however, at times it lacks some of the pacing of more modern scripts.

The set, designed by Mike Britton, oozes 1930s style. There are some clever devices used to give dimension and perspective to the set. Much of the set is easily navigable by the cast, however, they do encounter some difficulties with the curtains. While providing texture and giving a cavass representing the billowing wind or rippling waves that surround the island, on many occasions the cast can’t quite seem to find the entrance gaps between them. Seeing yet another cast member fumble for the way on stage does become somewhat uncomfortable to watch.

And Then There Were None is directed by Lucy Bailey. Bailey’s production has ten principal characters who are often all on stage at the same time. This busy stage occasionally creates logistical challenges that force the performers to block one another, turn their back to the audience, or talk upstage. While these are often considered theatrical faux pas they do create a sense of panic amongst the characters to an extent. There is a place for all of those devices to be used in staging, however, at times it feels a little clumsy and makes it difficult for the audience to hear and see the action.

The main strength of this production is its cast with universally solid performances throughout the principal cast. Bob Barrett’s portrayal of Doctor Armstrong is particularly genuine, creating a flawed but likeable former surgeon suffering clear trauma from his past experiences.

And Then There Were None is an enjoyable production that is well worth a watch for Christie and murder mystery fans.

Runs until 16 March 2024

The Reviews Hub Score

Atmospheric Murder Mystery

Show More
Photo of The Reviews Hub - South West

The Reviews Hub - South West

The Southwest team is under the editorship of John McRoberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
The Reviews Hub