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And Then There Were None

Dundee Rep
Three stars
There's a whiff of anarchy about Agatha Christie's much loved murder 
mystery yarn, revived here by Kenny Miller, who puts Christie's 
island-set affair in an impossibly chic drawing room complete with 
catwalk, bar and a rhinoceros skeleton on top. It's as if by putting 
ten thoroughly ghastly archetypes of her age in the same room and 
bumping them off one by one, she's attempting to wipe out an entire 
society. The fact that the opening scene where the ten strangers meet 
for the first time resembles something out of Big Brother makes 
Christie's righteous indignation at such a motley crew of boy racers, 
corrupt coppers, dried-out doctors, well-heeled fops and career girls 
on the make even more justified.

While none of this is pushed to the fore in an at times unintentionally 
funny rendition as Dundee Rep's ensemble cast navigate their way 
through Christie's cut-glass period demotic, it still simmers beneath 
the play's impeccable manners. With the story's original downbeat 
ending reinstated, there's a glorious lack of sentimentality on show as 
the body-count increases. This sets up a set of top turns, with Irene 
Macdougall and Ann Louise Ross relishing every second with their 
respective tight-lipped grotesques. While Robert Jack makes a dashingly 
slimy Lombard as Emily Winter's drop-dead Vera swishes and circles 
about him, it's Ian Grieve's bumbling greedy-guts, Blore, who seems to 
fully inhabit Christie's world.

Like any elite scrambling to survive, the second half has the play's 
final five turning on each other even as they huddle into the shadows 
for comfort. When the culprit is revealed as the ultimate vigilante, 
it's the coldest of finales in a play that takes no prisoners.

The Herald, March 11th 2014

ends

Comments

Amit Agarwal said…
It was my first Agatha Christie novel. I was interested to order this book after reading the tag "over 100 million copied sold". Also, the plot which has 10 murders was definitely something which a mystery/detective lover like me would grab with both hands. And I must say, the plot is superb and the story proceeds at a fast pace and keeps you guessing. As the characters get murdered one by one, the suspicion towards the survivors keeps changing. Lovely read.
Now I know where "Gumnam" movie got its plot from.

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