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and then there were none : wyong drama group presents an agathie christie classic

AND THEN THERE WERE NONE by Agatha Christie has been brought successfully to the stage at The Art House. Christie’s complex and intriguing narrative is directed by Pollyanna Forshaw, the play is about a diverse group of 10 people who are all lured into coming to an island. All the members have committed an act that was not subject to legal sanction or they have escaped justice. The guests are “charged” for their respective crimes and are told  via a message conveyed through a gramophone speaker that they will have to pay for their actions. Nobody can escape from the island due to the distance from land and the turbulent weather.

Christie commented that adapting her novel to the stage was challenging and decided to change the ending slightly in 1943 as she felt it might be too bleak for wartime audiences. Suspense plays an important role in making this play so intriguing and 10 miniature Indian figurines are a clear representation of it. Every time someone dies, one figurine out of the original 10 disappears off the mantlepiece. This creates an atmosphere of suspense for both the audience and the interaction between the characters in the story.

The talented ensemble cast encapsulate the air of mystery, tension and fear in the play. John Czerniecki (General McKenzie) and Gabrielle Brooks (Antonia Marston) give terrific performances. Allan Pleym is incredibly charming as Captain Lombard, while Nikki De Vries plays the dreary Emily Brent magnificently. Jenny Sharrock (Vera Claythorne) and Justin O’Connor (Detective Blore) give slightly uneven performances, while Andy Kabanoff pulls off the important character of Justice Wargrave exceptionally well.

Pollyanna Forshaw’s tight direction ensures the audience is engaged until the last scene, the sense of suspense gradually simmering throughout the play. Christie weaves many clues together in this play, however, they do not make it obvious who the murderer is. Many red herrings are served in this baffling plot; the cast adeptly evoke characters that are equally fearful of their isolation on the island and of each other. It is an interesting fact that the brilliant Christie has only been outsold by only two other literary writings: the Bible and Shakespeare!

The set design was pleasing, particularly the clever design of the 10 miniature Indians, which sometimes miraculously disappeared without being touched by the cast. The music, lighting and gramophone heightened the jittery atmosphere. The costume design was stylish and also particularly over the top for Gabrielle Brooks who, as Antonia Marston, saunters around the stage with her jewels and fancy gowns.

It would be certainly be a worthwhile trip north to Wyong, located in the Central Coast, to see this captivating production. I’m looking forward to Wyong Drama Group’s next production, Proof by David Auburn, from 25 August-2 September.

Stage play based on And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie by arrangement with Origin Theatrical on behalf of Samuel French, Ltd. Presented by: Wyong Drama Group. Directed by: Pollyana Forshaw. The Art House, 19-21 Margaret Street, Wyong. 21-29 July, 2017.

Online: www.thearthousewyong.com.au. Ph: 02 4335 1485

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