Skip to main content

A Murder is Announced

King's Theatre, Edinburgh
Three stars

Newspaper advertising may be down these days, but without it, Agatha Christie's thriller as brought to life in Middle Ground Theatre Company's production couldn't exist. The small ad in question appears in the local rag that serves the sleepy English hamlet of Chipping Cleghorn, where a Friday night murder mystery is promised in Little Paddocks, the country pile occupied by sixty-something village matriarch, Letitia Blacklock.

With the house brim-full with former school chums, extended family members and an east European refugee servant, it's all a bit of a wheeze until the Swiss assassin himself comes a cropper. Enter Miss Marple, who, as played by Judy Cornwell, is happy to sit knitting in the background as she nudges Tom Butcher's Inspector Craddock towards solving what turns out to be a case of international intrigue.

Despite confining the action to one room rather than the more scenic locales of Christie's original 1950 novel, Leslie Darbon's stage adaptation never quite evokes the dog eat dog claustrophobia of an And Then There Were None or a Huis Clois (and Christie at her vicious best is as existentially profound as Jean-Paul Sartre, any old day). First seen in 1977, Darbon's version also ditches some of Christie's more explicit portrayals of human cruelty, while Michael Lunney's production plays things partially for laughs. The latter approach benefits Lydia Piechowiak's portrayal of servant Mitzi hugely.

But beyond such fun and games, there are some pretty serious things being said about identity, and how the damage of life during wartime and its subsequent fallout can make it easier for opportunists to try on a new one to hopefully make a killing.

The Herald, February 3rd 2016
 
ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Clybourne Park

Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy Four Stars
It’s a case of whoops, there goes the neighbourhood twice over in Rapture Theatre’s revival of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which opens in 1959 in the same Chicago suburb where Lorraine Hansberry’s drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which appeared that year, is set. Here, Robin Kingsland’s Russ and his wife Bev, played by Jackie Morrison, are preparing to move out of their now almost empty des-res following a family tragedy.
Unknown to them, the bargain basement price tag has enabled a black family to move in, with Jack Lord’s uptight Karl a self-appointed spokesperson for the entire ‘hood. Russ and Bev’s black maid Francine (Adelaide Obeng) and her husband Albert (Vinta Morgan), meanwhile, bear witness to a barrage of everyday racism. Fast forward half a century, and a white family are trying to buy the same house, albeit with a heap of proposed changes which the black couple representing the block’s now much more diverse community aren’t…

Michael Rother - Sterntaler at 40

"There's so much to do," says an uncharacteristically flustered Michael Rother. The normally unflappably beatific German guitarist, composer and former member of Neu! and Harmonia, who also had a stint in a nascent Kraftwerk, is packing for live dates in Russia and the UK, including this weekend's show at the Queen Margaret Union in Glasgow.
"It has always been my choice to take care of these things myself and not have a manager," he says. "Somehow for me the independent aspect of doing things is really important, but it has its disadvantages."
As well as playing selections from Neu! and Harmonia, the trio he formed with Dieter Moebius and Hans Joachim Roedelius of Cluster, Rother's Glasgow date will see him play a fortieth anniversary rendering of his second solo album, Sterntaler, in full. Rother will be accompanied by guitarist Franz Bargmann and drummer Hans Lampe, the latter of whose musical involvement with Rother dates back to Neu! days, …

Kieran Hurley – Mouthpiece

Things have changed since Kieran Hurley first began writing the play that would become Mouthpiece, which opens at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh this weekend. At the time, Hurley was, in his own words, “quite new on the scene.” As a writer and performer, he had already scored hits with Beats and Chalk Farm, two pieces that put him on the map with a new generation of theatre-makers steeped in an equally new wave of grassroots opposition that drew from the iconography of revolutions past. Where Beats looked at the politicisation of 1990s club culture, Chalk Farm, co-written with AJ Taudevin, focused on a teenage boy caught up in the 2011 London riots.
More plays followed. Some, like Heads Up used the same solo story-telling aesthetic to look at an everyday apocalypse. More recently, Square Go, written with Gary McNair, dissected toxic masculinity through a school playground fight.
All the while as Hurley developed as a writer, from new kid on the block to established provocateur, this…