On Monday night, we went to the opening of Agatha Christie’s ‘And Then There Were None’ at the Everyman in Cheltenham. Having paid filthy lucre for the tickets, I didn’t review it for the Cheltenham Standard, but it’s hard to take the critical gene out of the culture vulture’s DNA so here goes.
For those not familiar with the play, ten strangers are lured to a remote island off the coast of Devon (and, coincidentally, my old stamping ground.) Stranded, one by one the guests are ‘picked off’ in fairly imaginative ways. It soon becomes clear that this is not the work of a deranged outsider. One of the party is a killer.
The play is very much a product of the time in which it was written and by today’s standard it might seem dated, and yet this is entirely the point and part of its allure. I loved the old style set with wood panelling that slid aside to reveal a view of the coastal skyline, the fact that the whisky decanter got a thorough working out, that words like ‘beastly’ were banded about by reckless young men who drive at the speed of Toad of Toad Hall. The play is peppered with terrifically distinct characters including a general, judge, soldier and, of course, the ‘must have’ sanctimonious old biddy. There’s glamour too in the shape of Verity Rushworth, fresh from Emmerdale. Full of melodrama, the play is a gift to actors with comic timing. And we weren’t disappointed.
Seasoned players Paul Nicholas, Susan Penhaligon and Frazer Hines, acted their socks off, as did every other member of the star-studded cast. Professionalism ran through the entire performance like a stick of Salcombe rock. In spite of the loss of volume control from the sound system – sitting in the circle, I thought my ears might disintegrate – the play was a joy to watch on a cold Monday evening. It runs until January 31st. Judging by the full house on Monday, tickets might be in short supply. Catch it if you can…