REVIEW A Murder Is Announced
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Review by Kevin Gover
Images: Debbie Borthwick
“Have you worked out who done it yet?” said an audience member to his partner as they passed by my seat during the interval.
I smiled to myself, as by that stage I really didn’t have a clue. There are so many twists and turns that if you’re not familiar with the play or Agatha Christie’s book, you really will not know.
The gasps from the audience throughout as they themselves discover what’s going on just go to prove it. The tension on stage at the end was something else.
In between all that there’s beautiful acting, beautiful costumes, a beautiful set – and, despite it being a murder plot, there are plenty of laughs!
The story is based around an announcement placed in the local newspaper that there will be a murder at a specific time, at a specific place (an early Victorian house) on a specific day in October 1950.
And that’s all I’m going to tell you!
The audience and I particularly liked Mitzi the maid’s mixed-up English (she’s a Mitteleuropa refugee), played by Lydia Piechowiak. There was lots of scope for fun, and she took it.
Sarah Thomas (Glenda in Last of the Summer Wine) was just as you would expect Miss Marple to be. Her explanation at the end – as previously mentioned – helped create the tension.
Kazia Pelka is well known from Heartbeat and Brookside – and she dominates the stage in her portrayal of Letitia Blacklock.
There’s a strong performance too from Tom Butcher as Inspector Craddock – you may remember Tom played PC Steve Loxton in The Bill for seven years.
I also loved Jenny Funnell as Dora Bunner. Her voice projection in her ‘confused’ demeanour were spot on.
Even the sound effects were gently and professionally done. They were supposed to be coming from outside on the set, and they certainly appeared to do so. It’s a pity that twice they were drowned out by real sounds of real sirens from the real outside. That’s something we’ve learned to put up with though. And I wasn’t convinced by the gun.
All in all, a splendid performance from everyone – just the kind of thing Winchester audiences love at this most special of theatres.
Try to see it if you can.
Adapted for the stage by Leslie Darbon and performed by the Middle Ground Theatre Company.