There’s nothing quite like an Agatha Christie play for bringing out the amateur detective in its audience.
Budding sleuths will have their work cut out to fathom out who is the killer among the suspects on stage at Chesterfield’s Pomegranate Theatre this week.
A Murder Is Announced isn’t the best known or easiest to follow of the Queen of Crime’s creations - but a cast of well-known faces, top-notch performances and an eye-catching set make it a production worth watching.
Judy Cornwell is the epitome of the quintessentially sweet old lady and astute amateur sleuth Miss Marple, knitting her way through the first half and stitching together the clues in the second. There’s plenty of relationships to untangle and loose ends to tie up before the complex crime is solved.
Pivotal to the story is the lady of the house who has gathered an assortment of relatives and friends around her, some with designs on getting their hands on her cash. Diane Fletcher brings high calibre acting to this marathon role in which she rarely leaves the stage.
Fine support comes from Sarah Thomas playing the central character’s dotty childhood friend, Tom Butcher as the analytical detective, Rachel Bright as the “niece” with a dark secret and Lydia Piechowiak as the strident, highly-strung foreign maid.
The mystery is played out in an opulent living room with button-back velvet chairs and lots of lights to create atmosphere. Introductory music reflects a sleepy village where nothing much happens.
If you listen carefully to the odd clue leaked by the supporting characters, you may detect the killer quicker than Miss Marple!