Monday, 16 March 2015

A Murder Is Announced, The Guildonian Players, The Little Theatre, Harold Wood

Agatha Christie's who-dun-it adapted for the stage by Leslie Darbon followed the usual pattern for this writer by filling the hall and making me wonder yet again why and how she still manages to do this.
The mystery is intriguing but the style of writing is so laden with old fashioned ideas and morals, that you would think that the audience would get fed up to the back teeth. Not so with this production because the Guildonians have many years of practice and when the denouement came it was both a shock, and an oh, of course it was so and so!
Thanks to her years of experience Susie Faulkner as the leading lady was completely at home with the role of the genteel Miss Letitia Blacklock introduced to the accompanying sound of gentle piano music on the wireless.
Christie's plays are ideal for a group that wants to use a large cast. A round dozen in this case.
Among the most notable were Margaret Corry's dear, demented Bunny; Emma Stacey's angry foreign cook who had some of the best lines; and Tony Szalai's Inspector Craddock who took charge of events following the murder.
It was strange that in this tale Carole Brand's Miss Marple was so comparatively quiet and subdued even though she did manage to solve some of the clues.
Some of the minor characters had a few quirks such as every time Ian Russell appeared as June Fitzgerald's mother-pecked Edmund he bounded on stage, crashed past other characters and popped up wherever the director Vernon Keeble-Watson had told him to aim for. At least that what I think was happening.
As is so often the case with this group many of the frocks for the women were superb. Made in heavy, expensive materials they were exactly of the period.
Unfortunately the sound of the prompt was heard far too often which led to the production being very slowly paced and I rather think many of the cast weren't aware of the stage's acoustic and how it affects the projection of your voice.
Mary Redman
The Guildonians next production is The Importance of Being Earnest from June 10 to 13 at 8pm Saturday matinee 2.30pm. Bookings: 01708 782118 or email

1 comment:

  1. Much rather this solid old-fashioned approach than an ill-advised up-dating ....