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