Yvonne Arnaud – until 2nd February 2019
Reviewed by Heather Chalkley
The director, Gareth Armstrong, has created a wonderful balance of farce, tension and drama in this true Christie style whodunnit murder mystery. Each character has a distinct and clear part to play. They work together, timing to perfection the quirky moments to make the audience laugh, revealing moments that raise their suspicions and lead them down blind alleys!
Gwyneth Strong as Mrs Boyle drew out the agitation in the other characters, with her sharp tongue and constant disgruntlement, building an atmosphere of friction for the main story. David Alcock’s Mr Paravicini was darkly mischievous from the outset, leading the audience to believe he was capable of wicked deeds. Lewis Chandler (Christopher Wren) was our favourite character displaying shades of dark and light throughout. Geoff Arnold (Sgt Trotter) made the audience laugh out loud when he arrived at the completely snowed in manor house on skis, poking his head through the window to introduce himself! Yet he was the most serious character. Nick Biadon (Giles Ralston) and Harriett Hare (Mollie Ralston) played a very convincing young married couple and novice guest house owners. Particularly when suspicions were running high, they laid out the doubt and fear that can be revealed when two people do not know each other quite as well as they thought! Saskia Vaigncourt-Strallen (Miss Casewell) developed her character, taking the audience with her in the most poignant moments at the end of the play.
There are leaked clues that can easily be missed unless you are paying attention! Well done to Gareth Armstrong for the very believable red herrings that kept the audience entertained to the end. Congratulations to the creative team that have somehow given a small set a real sense of manor house grandeur. Agatha Christie herself said “It is the sort of play you can take anyone to…”