Show: A Murder Is Announced
Venue: Perth Theatre
Date: 9th October 2019
Writer: Agatha Christie, adapted for the stage by Leslie Darbon
Director: Michael Lunney
Principal cast: Sarah Thomas (Miss Marple), Kazia Pelka (Letitia Blacklock), Tom Butcher (Inspector Craddock), & Jenny Funnell (Dora Bunner)
I read the book this is based on a few weeks ago, and though it wasn’t my favourite of Christie’s work, it was actually surprisingly fun being able to watch this adaptation knowing the final outcome. Doing so allowed me to pick up on all the little clues that eventually add up to help Miss Marple figure out whodunnit. It was a great way to appreciate just how meticulous Christie’s approach to plotting was.
Reading the novel beforehand is certainly not a requirement, but given that it is one of Christie’s more convoluted yarns, I do think prior knowledge of the plot’s intricacies helped me follow the increasingly complicated dynamic between the fairly large cast of characters as various secrets were unravelled.
The adaptation itself is a largely faithful one, though it has been scaled back somewhat to accommodate the show’s run time and production requirements. Taking place across a few days, and all set within the same room, it’s a show scant on action (with the body count reduced to just two). Instead, it’s packed with wry humour, red herrings, and fast wordplay that hides the truth.
The cast included a number of recognisable faces from British stage and screen. Sarah Thomas was suitably charming and witty as Marple, but Lydia Piechowiak’s eccentric, paranoid, and hilarious Mitzi was definitely the scene stealer. As my first taste of Christie on the stage, this served as a good introduction. Well aware that she’s produced smarter, more thrilling plots, however, I’m excited to see how more of her work translates to a live setting.