Skip to main content

Go Back For Murder

Kings Theatre, Edinburgh
3 stars
There can't be many Agatha Christie pot-boilers that feature pre-show music by the Beatles. Yet this late period whodunnit revived here by director Joe Harmston's Official Agatha Christie Company is as groovy as when Hammer revived Dracula in swinging London. Blessed with a holy trinity of female leads, it's hard not to warm to such unabashed hokum.

First performed in 1960 but re-set here to1968, Christie's adaptation of her novel, Five Little Pigs, follows the tenacious travails of Carla Le Marchant, the twenty-something daughter of Caroline Crale. Caroline died in prison after being convicted twenty years before of the murder of her artist and serial adulterer husband, Amyas. Carla breezes from lawyer's office to drawing room and fancy restaurant looking for clues, quizzing her father's mistress, the family maid, her mother's sister and two very different brothers both in love with her mother. Once gathered in the family pile, all involved role-play the past to unravel a more ambiguous past.

This makes it necessary for the cast to play their younger selves, while Sophie Ward carries things as both mother and daughter. Where as Carla she sports a Judy Geeson bob and a Mondrian-patterned mini-dress, as Caroline she's a more demure post-war English rose. As Amyas' one-time muse, Elsa, Lysette Anthony is a drop-dead little madam on the make, while Liza Goddard's Miss Williams remains impeccably ageless.

With each scene punctuated by what sounds like a jazzy mash-up of Roy Orbison's Pretty Woman and Dave Brubeck's Unsquare Dance, this is as hip as Christie gets. While hardly barricade-storming, Carla's final lead-taking embrace with her lawyer sidekick nevertheless points to a bright feminist future.

The Herald, February 14th 2013

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Honourable K.W. Harman: Ltd Ink Corporation

31 Bath Road, Leith Docks, March 17th-20th

In a monumental shipping container down by Leith Docks, a Sex Pistols tribute band is playing Anarchy in the U.K.. on a stage set up in the middle of the room. Either side, various constructions have been built in such a way so viewers can window shop as they promenade from one end of the room to the next, with the holy grail of a bar at either end.

Inbetween, there’s a confession booth and a mock-up of a private detective’s office with assorted documentation of real-life surveillance pinned to the walls. Two people seem to be having a conversation in public as if they're on a chat show. An assault course of smashed windows are perched on the floor like collateral damage of post-chucking out time target practice. A display of distinctively lettered signs originally created by a homeless man in search of a bed for the night are clumped together on placards that seem to be marking out territory or else finding comfort in being together. Opp…

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Scot:Lands 2017

Edinburgh's Hogmanay
Four stars

A sense of place is everything in Scot:Lands. Half the experience of Edinburgh's Hogmanay's now annual tour of the country's diverse array of cultures seen over nine bespoke stages in one global village is the physical journey itself. Scot:Lands too is about how that sense of place interacts with the people who are inspired inspired by that place.

So it was in Nether:Land, where you could see the day in at the Scottish Storytelling Centre with a mixed bag of traditional storytellers and contemporary performance poets such as Jenny Lindsay. The queues beside the Centre's cafe were further enlivened by the gentlest of ceilidhs was ushered in by Mairi Campbell and her band.

For Wig:Land, the grandiloquence of the little seen Signet Library in Parliament Square was transformed into a mini version of the Wigtown Book Festival. While upstairs provided a pop-up performance space where writers including Jessica Fox and Debi Gliori read eithe…