Richmond Theatre – until Saturday 5th May
Reviewed by Heather Chalkley
A dramatic start and a dramatic finish in true Christie style. The clever back stories intertwine the main thread to an unexpected climax to keep you riveted throughout. Lucy Ball, the Director, has worked in great partnership with the creative team, to produce seamless, flowing transitions, with breathtaking timing. An ingenious sectioned sliding floor, dividing it into three parts so that different rooms of the house can be shown, simply by sliding a section of the stage sideways.
Sam Frenchum as Bruce Lovell gave you an uneasy feeling from the get go, with classic lines for the audience that really give the game away. When his new wife Cecily Harrington (Helen Bradbury) blindly signed the legal papers, handing over her property and wealth to Bruce he stated that ‘This is one of the best days of my life’. As each part of his modus operandi was revealed his behaviour became more agitated and extreme, leaving the seemingly naive Cecily concerned for his health when it was clearly her own at stake! I was impressed with the ease that Sam slipped in and out of American and English accents, using them to great effect and exquisite placement.
Molly Logan brought humour to the play with her character Ethel. She is an enthusiastic housekeeper, using physical humour as well as delivering some corker lines. Throw in a good dose of adult innuendo and outright snobbery from Nicola Sanderson as the Aunt, Louise Garrand and you have a well rounded play. The Director uses the funny moments to accentuate the dark and revealing scenes that follow.
Helen Bradbury played Cecily Harrington with finesse, managing to portray her restless, naive thirst for life and adventure with a yearning for love and stability. Helen captured the privileged attitude of the upper classes to ‘servant’ classes, as if it was the most natural thing in the world. The final scene when Cecily was verbally fighting for her life, reversing the psychological upper hand in her favour, both Sam as Bruce Lovell and Helen as Cecily changed personna visibly before your eyes. A masterclass in villain and victim power struggles. We had our murder finally only not who you would expect!