Image courtesy of Keith Midham.
Usually considered Agatha Christie’s masterpiece, And Then There Were None tells of eight guests invited to stay on an uninhabited island who, upon arrival, begin to be bumped off one by one. With no host in sight, Christie presents the perfect locked room mystery. Unfortunately, the new touring production is less masterly in its retelling.
The curtain comes up to reveal a magnificent set: a bright, wood-paneled living room with circular, French windows at the back of the stage that lead onto a balcony. The acting does not follow suit, getting off to a slow start in the first act.
Kezia Burrows fails to shine in the lead role of Vera Claythorne. The role demands more attention to the psychological impact of the situation: the fear, guilt and madness that should build up as the fellow guests diminish in number is not present. She over-sexualizes a role that should be more about the simultaneous hardness and softness of the character that masters her panic when crisis hits. Burrows is all flirting and no vulnerability, she does not rise to the occasion.
Cast in too small a role, Eric Carte excels as General Mackenzie. Accepting his end is coming, the mixture of madness and clarity is perfectly portrayed. Deborah Grant also deserves commendation for her energetic portrayal of the resident Bible-basher, Emily Brent.
Slightly unusual but not unheard of, the production is divided into three rather than two acts. The assumption that perhaps a second interval is needed to negotiate a set change proves incorrect. Not being an especially lengthy show this second interval certainly does not detract, but definitely does not add anything either.
And Then There Were None falls victim to the difficulties of adapting a well-loved masterpiece from book to stage. The production provides a pleasant evening but fails to overwhelm.