Agatha Christie’s A Murder Is Announced
Louise Withers & Associates
Decenber 27 2013 – January 19 2014
Reviewed by Meredith McLean
A Murder Is Announced was the first of Christie’s works featuring Miss Marple to appear on stage or screen and now it’s the first time you will be able to join her as she works to solve whodunit.
A Murder is Announced is full of shuddering suspense within a brilliantly intricate plot where murder lurks around every corner…
Everyone loves a good murder mystery. Sometimes you need a night of flickering lights and screams in the dark, followed by a lot of questions and many suspects. This production of A Murder Is Announced, adapted for the stage by Leslie Darbon and directed by Darren Yap, provides all of that for audiences at QPAC’s Playhouse.
There is the crazy maid, a young widow and the raving woman who’s lost her marbles. There are a devious pair of cousins and suspicious friends of the family, as well as a cynical writer and a frazzled old woman. They, and more, gather on October 29th when The Gazette announces that a murder will take place in their very lodge.
Agatha Christie’s works are icons in British literature. There are many criticisms of the work, and the genre, but her novels remain one of the third best selling novels of all time. (She loses out only to The Bible and William Shakespeare, so third place is quite an achievement!). The original novel, A Murder Has Been Announced, Christie’s fiftieth work, is one of her most highly regarded novels featuring the detective, Miss Marple.
Miss Marple, played by Judi Farr, is perfectly reserved but witty. There is no need to force her presence on the stage. Miss Marple only need appear to deliver her observations.
Farr’s performance contrasted greatly (and rightly so) with Robert Grubb’s performance as Inspector Craddock. His loud and accusing but inquisitive nature was at the right times a plot device and at others, simply entertaining.
As so many productions do, the show falls down in its setting up. The first half feels dangerously longer than the second simply because the beginning is so slow. Introduction to characters waffles and the pace at first feels heavy. Perhaps the audience is anxious to get to the murder, because events quickly escalate faster from therein. Everyone loves a good murder, after all!
Otherwise, the stage is elegant, the performances are on point and though everything wraps up rather hastily, this is not the fault of the creatives but simply the way of an Agatha Christie murder mystery. Perhaps because one expects this of Christie’s novels, one should expect it of any production of those works.
A Murder Is Announced is a wonderful whodunit mystery that embodies the legacy of Agatha Christie while still entertaining a modern audience. Must close January 19 2014.