Review by Samela Harris
It’s Agatha Christie. You know what you’re getting: an intriguing puzzle of a whodunit charmed up with some frightfully suspicious English characters.
Under Adrian Barnes’ direction, this famous Christie classic arrives as a big, clean, handsome production properly peopled by toffs and oddballs, all with something to hide. Barnes has assembled a suitably eclectic cast led by the creamy senior David Haviland as the nasty old “hanging judge” stranded with an unlikely house party on a luxury island off the UK coast. All the guests have responded to specially personalised invitations, hardly expecting that they are there to be systematically eradicated in ways hinted by the rhyme of the Ten Little Soldier Boys. Symbols of the boys dominate the set in an eloquently illuminated art array and, between murders, the trilling voice of Pat Wilson sing-songs the riddles of the upcoming eliminations, one by one until there are none.
And off they go, by syringe or falling statue, fates tailor-made for the characters. Who is doing it? Christie keeps the audience guessing, and even those who say they have read the book seem to be in suspense.
The performances are solid quality, particularly that of Rachel Williams in her haughty British pace. Simon Lancione is deliciously cocky as the dubious young soldier of fortune so sure he is immune as a murder victim because he is carrying a gun. Wayne Anthoney is all gruff pomposity as the elderly general while Lindsay Dunn is suave and formal as the disgraced medical specialist and Peter Davis lights up the stage yet again, this time as the not-South-African private investigator. Ever a dependable actress, Julie Quick is eminently stuffy as the mean-minded old spinster. Apt performances also from Mark Drury, Thomas Filsell, Kyla Booth and Stanley Tuck, not to mention the sound and lighting crew for the wild electrical storm which has audience members leaping out of their seats.