Left – Judi Farr
It was only 12 months ago that Brisbane audiences had the rare and privileged pleasure of experiencing Agatha Christie’s The Moustrap at QPAC’s Playhouse. Following up on its obvious success, another one of Christie’s brilliant whodunits, A Murder is Announced, is now playing. It is another very welcome and splendid dose of Dame Agatha’s work and is guaranteed to have you pondering who the murderer could be right up to the very end.
A Murder is Announced is the first of Christie’s narratives to be dramatised that features the gracious and sharp minded senior sleuth Miss Marple. This production has all the charm and panache of The Mousetrap, but with the extra deliciousness of one of Christie’s most beloved characters in Jane Marple. A first class all Australian cast never disappoints as they weave their way easily around the plot and the line up of eccentric and not so eccentric characters.
Judi Farr brings her own charm to the role of Miss Marple and is an absolute joy to watch. Robert Grubb has a fantastic presence as Inspector Craddock. Farr and Grubb bring the playful yet respectful repartee (that Christie fans know so well between Marple and the investigating police inspectors she assists) to life with wonderful timing and mastery. Debra Lawrence as Letitia Blacklock and Deidre Rubenstein as Dora Bunner also give refined and engaging performances. Victoria Haralabidou steals the comedic limelight as the paranoid and compulsive lying foreign cook, Mitzi.
Regardless of whether or not you are a fan of Agatha Christie’s crime stylings, witnessing the genius of a Christie mystery unfold live before your eyes is a must. It’s a superb lesson in the art of suspense from beginning to end. As with all of Christie’s stories, for those who are keen to work out who the murderer is, the clues are carefully placed all throughout the action. However, with nearly every character a plausible suspect, and an intriguing family line and back-story for the main character Letitia Blacklock, you’ll have to pay careful attention to all that is revealed as the plot progresses, and as with all Christie’s work, nothing is ever as straight forward as it would seem.
A Murder is Announced, as adapted for the stage by Leslie Darbon, is an endearing and delectable Agatha Christie work at its best brought to life for the theatre. The period set and costumes, the right touches of music and quaint yet nostalgic ideals of post war England fleshed out on QPAC’s Playhouse stage is a delicious treat for anyone who loves a good murder mystery. Here’s hoping an annual Australian stage production of an Agatha Christie work is always going to be a part of QPAC’s programming. Brisbane theatre goers will be seasonally waiting with bated breath to see if the New Year will bring the next in the glorious line up of Agatha Christie’s mysteries. One can only hope and wait and see, and until then get along to QPAC to see A Murder is Announced before its season ends.
Louise Withers & Associates presents
A Murder is Announced
adapted for the stage by Leslie Darbon
Venue: Playhouse, QPAC, Brisbane
Dates: 27 Dec 2013
Tickets: $75 – $120