A Murder is Announced by St Luke’s Players October12-23, 2016. A review.

A Murder is Announced by St Luke’s Players October12-23, 2016. A review.

Who doesn’t love a good mystery—particularly when it’s written by the undisputed queen—Agatha Christie, whose books have sold more copies than any other author and publication (except the Bible and the Bard).

Originally penned in 1950, and adapted for the stage by Leslie Darbon in 1977, A Murder is Announced (the first production in Saint Luke’s Players 68th season) is a classic in the genre—replete with cozy imagery and characters audiences have come to expect—Miss Marple of course (an assured and intelligent Geli Bartlett), a police inspector–Craddock (Eric Grace possesses a splendid “take charge” manner that brooks little interference), the gentlewoman homeowner Letitia Blacklock (Jane Guy surprises—and I can say no more without spoiling it!) and various friends, neighbours, relatives and boarders.

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Barbara Clerihue has created a faithful representation of an English drawing room, filled to overflowing (set décor and props—De Roger and Linda Troke) with comfortable arm chairs, sideboards, tables, and stools.  Costumes (Colleen Blunt) are simply outstanding—warm argyle sweaters, blazers, hats for the ladies, more formal dresses for tea, tie and vests for the gentlemen.  Kathy Mcovichuk & James Penner’s sound design features tunes common to the era.  Combined, the design elements alone would be enough to keep one occupied in appreciative reverie; add in all the multiple twists, turns and misdirections of the script and two acts (carefully apportioned into three scenes each) fairly fly by.

Director Peter Gatt is a devoted fan of Christie’s work and possesses a clear understanding of the fine points necessary to perplex and confound.  The actors hide their back stories and motivations well—Euphemia MacMurphy’s Julia—Miss Blacklock’s niece–is perfectly bored and condescending while Sean Dillman as her brother Patrick is the epitome of the dilettante; Stephanie Landucci is delightful as the mysterious maid Mitzi playing on eastern European stereotypes common to the era; Beverly van Druten-Blais conveys all of the hapless Bunny’s confusion—with her memory and  the situation; Melissa Berry is a perky Phillipa—a single mom with a haunting secret.  Neighbours Clara Swettenham (Joy Farrell) and her earnest son Edmund (Nick Atkinson) inject even more complications.  Colleen Blunt is a conscientious Sergeant Mellors.

Half the fun with a murder mystery is trying to stay one step ahead of the revelations and attempting to figure out “who done it?”  The cast of A Murder is Announced keeps the audience captivated (and guessing) right to the very end in this well-executed tale of murder and mayhem.

St Luke’s Players have a well-honed formula for their seasons and, from the numbers on opening night, a growing legion of fans. Season’s tickets are still on sale until October 24th and represent some of the best value for theatre in Victoria.  One added bonus of purchasing season’s tickets is the ability to buy tickets to the ever-popular (and sold-out) Christmas pantomime before they are available to the general public.

An announcement in the local paper states the time and place of a murder, in Miss Blacklock’s house. The victim is not one of the several occupants, but an unexpected and unknown visitor. There follows the mystery, filled with clues, false leads and suspense.

A Murder is Announced, written by Agatha Christie and adapted by Leslie Darbon
Directed by Peter Gatt
St. Luke’s Players, St. Luke’s Hall, 3821 Cedar Hill X Road (at Cedar Hill Road)
October 12-23, 2016
Tickets via Eventbrite  $16

Disclaimer: I was offered a complimentary ticket to attend A Murder is Announced.

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Comments

  1. Chris Rudram says:

    I rather enjoyed it too… Murder is Announced is probably my first exposure to Christie, when a ten year old me watched the incomparable Joan Hickson play Miss Marple in a BBC production. So it was nice to revisit it.

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