On the first day of Spring a London icon came to Adelaide. You can’t see it in London now, so you should see it in Adelaide. This South Australian premiere is quite a coup for Therry, and I can promise it will not have a 59 year run here, so get your tickets quickly! I had the privilege of seeing the preview-cum-dress rehearsal, which went faultlessly and augurs well for a great season.

The longest running show in theatre history has become a phenomenon in its own right. It is not world shattering theatre, but it is a gripping play, and this production holds the attention firmly throughout. Agatha Christie is at her most devious and artful in developing a mesh of intrigue, and the surprise ending (don’t tell anyone!) is a gem.

But there are not many other surprises: an experienced Adelaide cast, a charmingly traditional sitting room box set (by Nick Spottiswoode), 1950’s furniture and costumery, and fine direction by Norman Caddick. The genre is perhaps so familiar and well-tried that one might want to see something a bit different, or perhaps some characters slightly differently cast, but in a piece so well-worn, it would be a brave director who took it too far out of its familiarity zone.

Alison Scharber is credible and compelling as the brusque, opinionated and (on the surface), self assured Miss Casewell, and one of the more convincing characters; as were the weird little Mr Paravicini played by Philip Lineton, and Lindy LeCornu as Mrs Boyle. Alicia Zorkovic was more convincing as the straight and nervous Mollie Ralston than Stephen Bills was as her husband, and Oliver de Rohan provided some nice contrast as the flouncing and flamboyant “very strange young man”, Christopher Wren. Nigel Starck is a suitable Major Metcalf, and Lee Cook is earnest and vigourous, and not at all Poirot as the Detective.

This cast manages to build the tension up nicely, as Agatha C develops the suspicion of everyone by everyone as a potential murderer through a web of lies and half truths as the plot develops into an exceptionally good yarn. The apt music – overture, entre-act and somewhat tuneless whistling – of “Three Blind Mice” reinforces the theme, and the whole is a thoroughly enjoyable, well constructed and presented night at the theatre. Don’t bother with London – Adelaide does it with panache too.

Therry Dramatic Society presents
by Agatha Christie

Director Norman Caddick

Venue: Arts Theatre | 53 Angas Street, Adelaide
Dates: September 1 – 17, 2011
Tickets: $14.00 - $27.60
Bookings: http://www.venuetix.com.au/

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