Agatha Christie’s adaptation of her famous mystery thriller And Then There Were None, is a gift for the Adelaide Repertory. It has a multitude of plot complexities, many red herrings and some unforgettably bizarre characters.
This production, under the steady guidance of internationally experienced director Adrian Barnes seizes the gift eagerly with both hands. The result is an evening of mounting anticipation and fun and one cannot help but admire the plot’s twists and turns.
The now familiar story is set on the tiny, remote Soldier Island off the coast of Devon in the U.K as eight guests arrive, each having been involved one way or another in murder. Upon arrival each guest is charged via a sepulchral recorded voice with their individual crime. One by one they they are grotesquely bumped off as the play progresses and as the “soldier boy” figurines on the back wall are snuffed out.
The set is appropriately utilitarian and uncluttered, accompanied by some pretty impressive sound and lighting SFX of sea and wild storms. There are many stunning thunder and lightning flashes, unleashing unrestrained mounting tension on stage.
The costumes are generally well-executed in 1940’s style, except perhaps for the lengths of two or three of the men’s trousers!
Director Barnes has mastered Christie’s sense of impending doom hovering over each character throughout, building tension minute by minute, yet concomitantly deploying a sense of fun when the occasion arose. This appeals to a modern audience hearing upper- middle class dialogue of the 1940’s.
The mostly, experienced cast played out this mystery thriller with skill.
David Haviland as Judge Lawrence Wargrave played the role of the interrogator imperiously with a dose of the sinister. Peter Davies as William Henry Blore,retired policeman, played the spy with oafish energy. Julie Quick as Emily Brent did the repressed, religious bigot well, whilst Wayne Anthony played the other-worldly General MacKenzie. Lindsay Dunn played Dr Edward George Armstrong and Rachael Williams as Vera Clayborne were both fine in their roles. Simon Lancione played Philip Lombard as the eternal braggart effectively. Kyla Booth played Ethel Rogers and Thomas Filsell was husband Thomas, who greeted and attended to the guests upon their arrival, while Mark Drury played Anthony Marston and Stanley Tuck played Fred Narracott.
Blend the mystery and doom with the humour throughout and this production of an Agatha Christie classic, is a satisfying, enjoyable night at the theatre.