Skip to main content

And Then There Were None

Dundee Rep
Three stars
There's a whiff of anarchy about Agatha Christie's much loved murder 
mystery yarn, revived here by Kenny Miller, who puts Christie's 
island-set affair in an impossibly chic drawing room complete with 
catwalk, bar and a rhinoceros skeleton on top. It's as if by putting 
ten thoroughly ghastly archetypes of her age in the same room and 
bumping them off one by one, she's attempting to wipe out an entire 
society. The fact that the opening scene where the ten strangers meet 
for the first time resembles something out of Big Brother makes 
Christie's righteous indignation at such a motley crew of boy racers, 
corrupt coppers, dried-out doctors, well-heeled fops and career girls 
on the make even more justified.

While none of this is pushed to the fore in an at times unintentionally 
funny rendition as Dundee Rep's ensemble cast navigate their way 
through Christie's cut-glass period demotic, it still simmers beneath 
the play's impeccable manners. With the story's original downbeat 
ending reinstated, there's a glorious lack of sentimentality on show as 
the body-count increases. This sets up a set of top turns, with Irene 
Macdougall and Ann Louise Ross relishing every second with their 
respective tight-lipped grotesques. While Robert Jack makes a dashingly 
slimy Lombard as Emily Winter's drop-dead Vera swishes and circles 
about him, it's Ian Grieve's bumbling greedy-guts, Blore, who seems to 
fully inhabit Christie's world.

Like any elite scrambling to survive, the second half has the play's 
final five turning on each other even as they huddle into the shadows 
for comfort. When the culprit is revealed as the ultimate vigilante, 
it's the coldest of finales in a play that takes no prisoners.

The Herald, March 11th 2014

ends

Comments

Amit Agarwal said…
It was my first Agatha Christie novel. I was interested to order this book after reading the tag "over 100 million copied sold". Also, the plot which has 10 murders was definitely something which a mystery/detective lover like me would grab with both hands. And I must say, the plot is superb and the story proceeds at a fast pace and keeps you guessing. As the characters get murdered one by one, the suspicion towards the survivors keeps changing. Lovely read.
Now I know where "Gumnam" movie got its plot from.

Popular posts from this blog

The Honourable K.W. Harman: Ltd Ink Corporation

31 Bath Road, Leith Docks, March 17th-20th

In a monumental shipping container down by Leith Docks, a Sex Pistols tribute band is playing Anarchy in the U.K.. on a stage set up in the middle of the room. Either side, various constructions have been built in such a way so viewers can window shop as they promenade from one end of the room to the next, with the holy grail of a bar at either end.

Inbetween, there’s a confession booth and a mock-up of a private detective’s office with assorted documentation of real-life surveillance pinned to the walls. Two people seem to be having a conversation in public as if they're on a chat show. An assault course of smashed windows are perched on the floor like collateral damage of post-chucking out time target practice. A display of distinctively lettered signs originally created by a homeless man in search of a bed for the night are clumped together on placards that seem to be marking out territory or else finding comfort in being together. Opp…

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Nomanslanding

Tramway, Glasgow until July 2nd
Four stars

In the dead of night, the audience are split in two and led under-cover into lamp-lit tented structures. Inside, what look like peasant women on the run lead us down a ramp and into a large circular pod. It feels part cathedral, part space-ship, and to come blinking into the light of such a fantastical structure after stumbling in the dark disorientates and overwhelms. Sat around the pod as if awaiting prayers to begin, we watch as performers Nerea Bello and Judith Williams incant mournfully on either side of the room. Their keening chorales embark on a voyage of their own, twisting around each other by way of the international language of singing. As if in sympathy, the walls wail and whisper, before starting to move as those on either side of the pod are left stranded, a gulf between them.

This international co-commission between Glasgow Life and the Merchant City Festival, Sydney Harbour Foreshaw Authority in Australia and Urbane Kienste …