The essence of Agatha Christie was well-captured in this timeless production, based around the author’s own adaptation of her much-admired novel. Transported back to 1930's England – an era when discussing murder was not the gentlemanly thing to do – we find ten people stranded together on an island, awaiting a chilling fate which catches up with them one by one.
Each of the captives has received a mysterious invitation from an unknown source, and all of them have a very dark secret that unwittingly unites them. And so we follow the characters through both personal journeys and revelations about their past misdemeanours… while all the time, a growing paranoia and mistrust develops gloriously between them.
The cast conjure up a superb atmosphere of suspense and mystery, firmly holding the audience’s attention throughout the complicated storylines and relentless twists and turns. As it happens, I didn’t know the ending of this particular Christie epic, and I was left guessing right up to the very last minute which of the “ten little soldier boys” would be still standing when the curtain came down. Believe me, I changed my mind several times throughout the performance – the measure of a good murder mystery for me.
The dialogue between the characters is the heart of this play, and these scenes are both well-crafted and flawlessly delivered. But the tension’s broken up by some deliberately tongue-in-cheek one-liners – and there’s some overt flirtation thrown in for good measure, much to the amusement of the packed auditorium. The strong acting is backed by a sumptuous set, along with equally luxurious costumes (you can't possibly miss “the dress”)… and the sound effects and lighting at the climax leave a lasting visual impression.
So there’s some modern flair on display, but this is, of course, a solidly traditional script. To enjoy it to the full, you’ll need to willingly take yourself back to a time when “tinned tongue” was the luxury of the day. If that sounds like something you’ll enjoy – and whether or not you’re a Christie fan – I can thoroughly recommend this classic production. Be warned though, it was a very busy opening night at the Theatre Royal, so do book ahead for this one.