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 Connecting professional and amateur theatre in Newbury, West Berkshire and beyond

Silchester Players - And Then There Were None

1st, 2nd, 8th and 9th June 2001.

The photographer then dispatched the remaining three characters with a sub-machine gunClick on the picture to see a bigger version.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Playing the numbers game

And Then There Were None, Silchester Players, Silchester Village Hall, June 1st, 2nd, 8th & 9th

I usually have a problem with Agatha Christie plays: even after the detective has explained it all at the end, I still don’t understand it. ‘And Then There Were None’ is a bit different; the ten characters are killed off one by one and there isn’t a detective. This makes it a gripping story, as you try to work out who’s going to be bumped off next and, of course, whodunit.

The play is set in 1936, on a small island off the coast of Devon. Ten people, all with a guilty secret, arrive at the only house on the uninhabited island and the fun begins.

In a period piece like this, it would be easy to caricature the accents and mannerisms of the time, but director Brian Gillett has wisely resisted this temptation. But emulating the (posh) accents of the ruling classes is always difficult and the cast had mixed success with this. Kevin Belcher, as the rather caddish Captain Philip Lombard, was outstandingly good. He captured the period perfectly, and gave a most convincing performance. Nick Lock, as the ex-CID officer, was suitably seedy and used his imposing body to good effect. Keith Graham (Rogers the butler) managed to show a restrained disapproval of the toffs as well as a stiff-upper-lip stoicism when things started going wrong.

Geoff Murrell, as Sir Lawrence Wargrave, showed that even high court judges can have a nasty side, and Tony Oliver played the dithering doctor. Sharon Macdonald-Grute (secretary Vera Claythorne) effectively portrayed her increasing fears of imminent death.

The set had a 30’s art deco look to it, with a good vista through the French windows, and the costumes reinforced the period feel.

The pace was generally good, despite a few prompts in the final act, and the director made good use of the space (not easy when you have to cram ten people onto a small stage – luckily the numbers soon reduced!).

This is the 25th anniversary of Agatha Christie’s death, and (apart from The Mousetrap) her plays are not performed so often nowadays, so this absorbing play was a good choice from Silchester Players.