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AND THEN THERE WERE NONE

by Agatha Christie

Dates 16 - 20 May 2023

Directed by Anna Hodkin

 

Summary


One of Christie’s most popular and enduring classic murder mysteries.

Eight people turn up at a house, are met by the cook and butler, and one by one, they start dying. I will not give it all away, but its …….

The world’s best selling murder mystery book, and top 6 of all books sold.


CAST


Rogers - Rob Dakin

Narracott - Tony Vokes

Mrs Rogers - Linda M Stafford

Vera Claythorne - Emily Girton

Philip Lombard - Jerome Foley

Anthony Marston - Calum Sharp

William Blore - Danny Longbottom

General MacKenzie - Dave Cochrane

Emily Brent - Amanda Pearce

Sir Lawrence Wargrave - Tim Farrow

Dr Armstrong - Vic Carr


CREW

Production Manager - Rosie Farrow

Set Designer - Andy Bakewell

Stage Manager - Rob Dixon

Assistant Stage Manager - Emily Martin

Costume - Kathryn Tuddenham

Props - Jo Sharpe and Charlie Wilcox

Sound Design - Ritchie Sharpe

Lighting Design - Ali Bakewell

Lighting Ops - Dom Gaskell


Programme


programme ATTWN online
.pdf
Download PDF • 2.38MB

Reviews

Thanks to LeftlLion and Becki Crossley

The West Bridgford Society performed their first play in 1949, and today showcase everything from comedies to modern day thrillers. Run completely by volunteers, it’s easy to see the passion and dedication that goes into a production from not only the actors, but every member of the backstage and front-of-house staff.

Their current production of And Then There Were None is based on the world’s best-selling mystery novel by ‘Queen of Crime’ Agatha Christie. With this production, director Anna Hodkin wishes to capture the “wit and humour that’s so integral to Agatha Christie’s stage writing” while bringing about a darker, more atmospheric touch to the whodunnit.

This brooding atmosphere is never more poignant or expertly deployed as in the Act 2 scene where the ever-dwindling cast huddles together on a stage lit only by candlelight. The effect leaves the audience feeling as though they’re hunkering down with them, guessing who amongst you is the killer and wondering if you’ll be next.

With an extensive cast, and all of them often on stage all at once, it could be hard to stand out. But each player is memorable, taking their turn in the spotlight at different points throughout the play - whether that’s Jerome Foley as boisterous, quippy Captain Lombard, or Emily Girton as the increasingly hysterical Vera Claythorne (who lets out some of the most blood-curdling screams I’ve ever had the joy of hearing on stage).

Tim Farrow, a veteran of the stage having joined the WBDS in 1995, is the absolute picture of Sir Lawrence Wargrave, with all the gravitas required to play the imposing criminal judge. Calum Sharp is hilarious as the sports car-driving Anthony Marson, bringing a real air of the 1930s with his cries that everything is “wizard”, as is Danny Longbottom as the sometimes-bumbling police officer Blore.

The effect leaves the audience feeling as though they’re hunkering down with them, guessing who amongst you is the killer and wondering if you’ll be next.

Playing the nervous nerve doctor Armstrong is Vic Carr, who does so with a great sense of authority before starting to unwind as the tension mounts. Dave Cochrane as General Mackenzie also plays the downward spiral of the character perfectly, as he increasingly confuses past with present.

Rob Dakin is the ever-dutiful butler Rogers, who captures the sense of service you would imagine of his character - patiently taking every guest request, even dazedly continuing to make breakfast as the bodies pile up. As does Linda M Stafford as Mrs Rogers, though with slightly more complaint to the amusement of the audience.

But I have to give an extra special mention to Amanda Pearce, who is pitch perfect as the haughty Emily Brent. Whether she’s throwing scathing looks in the background or gleefully reading damning passages from the Bible, she’s often hard to look away from, even with a stage full of larger-than-life characters.

As a viewer who has somehow escaped the final reveal of the world’s sixth best-selling book, each character felt just as viable as a suspect as they did a victim, with a real air of distrust and unease even as the numbers dwindled and they had to rely on each other for safety. This production does what it set out to do - deliver wit and humour with a heart of menace and mystery.

And Then There Were None plays at the Studio Theatre from the 16th until the 20th of May 2023.


Leftlion review here


Thanks to Kev Castle


"And Then There Were None" by West Bridgford Dramatic Society. The Studio, West Bridgford. Agatha Christie's murder mystery play, for those who don't know, is about a group of ten strangers who are lured to a remote island off the coast of Devon. Upon arrival it is discovered that their host, an eccentric millionaire, is missing. At dinner a recorded message is played accusing each of them in turn of having a guilty secret and by the end of the evening the ten guests become nine. Stranded on the island by a torrential storm and haunted by an ancient nursery rhyme, one by one the guests begin to die. And with only the fallen believed to be innocent, who amongst them is the killer? Rob Dakin plays Rogers. the butler/man servant hired to tidy up the house and greet the guests invited by Mr and Mrs Owen, the owners of the property. Very believable in his role and has that air of authority, especially over Mrs Rogers. Linda M Stafford is Mrs Rogers, the Maid. Wonderfully crotchety and moaning about all the tasks she has to carry out for the guests. Narracott, the Boatman, is played by Anthony Vokes, with just a hint of a South-Westerly accent. Only a cameo role but looks the part. Vera Claythorne is played by Emily Girton, and this is the first time that Emily has appeared on stage since lockdown. Vera gets the sharp end of Ms Brent's tongue from the off. You witness the chipping away of the initially confident character to leave a more emotional Emily as the play progresses. Obviously being away from the stage has not affected her dramatic talents. Jerome Foley plays Philip Lombard, a man with an air of mystery about him and carries a gun, but will he use it in the play? Could this ex-military man be a murderer? The young, flash, sports car driving Anthony Marston is played by Calum Sharp. Marston attracts attention wherever he goes and his love of sports cars has got him in trouble in the past, so is retribution for his blase opinions the reason for his invite? And he's already ruffled the feathers of one of the other invited guests even before he arrives. Calum is well suited to this role, and with his slicked back hair and flash clothes, certainly looks the part. Danny Longbottom is William Blore, a detective by trade, but arrives under a pseudonym. What has he got to hide? Danny gets to present a quasi South African accent as part of his character, an accent anyone could have seen through, but straight away this puts you on alert. General MacKenzie is played by Dave Cochrane. MacKenzie is a retired war hero and as the play goes on, you see a gradual breakdown of his mind. Could that breakdown be a sign of an unstable murderer? A nice low-key presentation by Dave of this character. Amanda Pearce, who has rapidly become one of my favourite local actors, after seeing her in the last three WBDS productions, plays Emily Brent. Emily is one of those characters that I imagine Amanda had great fun playing. A real spiky, not to be messed with character who is not afraid to speak her mind. Could this woman have reasons to rid Indian Island of these people who have made her an embittered woman, or has she rubbed someone in her midst up the wrong way? Another wonderful, character driven role for Amanda to get her teeth, and knitting needles into. Tim Farrow plays Sir Lawrence Wargrave, who Dr Armstrong seems to recognise from her past and tells the others that he is a Judge that she had presented evidence to in her professional capacity. You get a real judicial aura from Tim's performance, and at the end of the day, if you can't trust a judge, who can you trust? Dr Armstrong is played by Vic Carr, and like Emily, this is her first time back on stage since lockdown. Again, this hiatus has done nothing to dampen her acting ardour, or ability to perform with conviction. Geoff Longbottom provides the voice of "The Voice" on the record which reveals the sins of the guests, and their reasons for being altogether. Directed by Anna Hodkin, she maintains that constant air of unease and, for anyone who has not had the pleasure of seeing this classic murder mystery by the Queen of Crime Writers, the reveal brought the odd gasp from a couple of audience members, showing how much they had invested in the characters and the plot. A very minor thing that probably went unnoticed by everyone else, but when a couple of characters came in from the torrential rain, their hats or raincoats were dry. Apart from that I loved the attention to detail with things like having drinks in the decanters and the coffee dispenser, plus sandwiches on plates. This in itself showed the issues with trying to digest a sandwich and deliver dialogue. Andy Bakewell's Set Design was suitably dated for the period of the piece and gave you a real feel for the era, especially with the decor and that wonderful silver coffee pot and cups. I was a wee bit confused by the backdrop behind the French windows, as I thought it was a whitewashed wall, and then realised that it wasn't when one of the characters looked out on to the landscape, scanning the rocks and the sea, and realised that it was not a solid wall after all, and must have been clouds on the horizon. Kathryn Tuddenham's costumes for this production are wonderful. Vera's gorgeous, long pink outfit, definitely showed of those killer curves (that may or may not be a spoiler, so don't read anything into my description, it could or could not be a red herring!) Seriously though, the costumes were fantastic for every character. They gave an insight into the various characters; just look at the seriousness of Emily Brent's costume and compare that with either of the younger characters' costumes, and the staid, seriousness of the Judge's suit. The Sound Design is by Ritchie Sharpe and the Lighting Design is by Ali Bakewell, both operated by Dom Gaskell. The relaxing sound of the sea and the seagulls contrasted nicely with the storm section, complete with thunder and lightning. I can't remember seeing another production though that, in one scene, is simply lit by candles, just highlighting the characters' faces. This in itself created that uneasy feeling, and I loved it. I love Agatha Christie's stories and have seen this play several times in the past, so I knew who the murderer was from the start. Having this information though means that you can watch that person to see how they build up to each murder, and that gives you another incite into the acting skills of the person in question. A good play combined with a good cast only adds to the excitement of seeing a play like this over again. "And Then There Were None" will cease to be, not as mysteriously as the characters in the play, after Saturday 20 May, so make sure that you get your tickets while you can. Will you guess correctly? If you do, don't tell anyone else, just tell them to get a ticket! https://kevcastletheatrereviews.blogspot.com/2023/05/and-then-there-were-none-by-west.html?m=1


Kev Castle Review here




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