Review by Peter McGarry
THIS is Agatha Christie at her most complex and surprising.
It remains her most popular work, uniting fans and non-fans in appreciating a drama that twists and turns while examining some of the less savoury traits of human nature.
And all without the stereotypical probing of a clever-dick Poirot or a dithering Miss Marple.
The ten people assembled on a lonely island by an unseen host might well seem a superficial lot but they are ciphers for a dark exploration of nastiness and guilt within the human psyche. This aspect is cleverly realised in William Wilkinson’s taut production which teases us into trying to catch the little line of toy soldiers on the shelf being whittled down as each murder occurs.
It’s riveting stuff, superbly staged. Inevitability is the keyword of the plot, but it’s also what ensures the fun element, along with shadowy images on walls and a splendidly eerie candlelit sequence.
Imagination runs ahead of us as one character goes upstairs in search of her lost skein of wool. Another comes out with the anticipated: “We’re all going to die, you know!” And the harsh, brittle nature of some of the people is typified when a young mad-driver woman comments on “a couple of kids I ran over near Cambridge.”
For the first half, the production has a constant sense of motion as the guests swirl about the stage, peering and mingling. This contrasts effectively with later moments of frightened stillness. Richard Moore’s set design neatly allows for period (1930s) flavour, so essential to true Christie-land.
The production runs until June 4. Visit www.lofttheatre.co.uk for tickets and further details.