A Murder Is Announced at The Churchill Theatre
A Murder is Announced at the Churchill Theatre is an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s thrilling novel of the same title.
‘The residents of Chipping Cleghorn are astonished to read an advert in the local newspaper that a murder will take place this coming Friday at Little Paddocks, the home of Letitia Blacklock. Unable to resist, the group gather at the house at the appointed time, when the lights go out and a gun is fired. Enter Miss Marple, who must unravel a complex series of relationships and events to solve the mystery of the killer…‘
Now I have to admit, this was my first time seeing a play of this nature and looking around I was definitely not the target audience by any means but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the evening.
The direction by Michael Lunney was very naturalistic and even though prior to curtain up I had imagined an over the top film noir style this did not put me off. There were some beautifully comical moments throughout the show most of them led by Miss Marple herself (Sarah Thomas) and Mrs Swettenham (Dot Smith). As a cast, I was very impressed by their ability to project in such a large theatre considering they chose not to use mics during this tour, a brave choice that definitely paid off. The actors worked so wonderfully together and moved about the space very well. Special mention must go out to Lydia Piechowiak who played Mitzi. While her character may have appeared sporadically throughout the play, I was sat constantly waiting for her next dramatic outburst. Very entertaining!
I will say that I loved the set design and enjoyed how it was used by all of the actors. While it may have initially appeared like ‘just’ a sitting room in a large village house it was actually so much more. Every inch of the space was used, all items in the space served a purpose and all items were used as props throughout. The only thing that became minimally irritating was the amount of chair swapping that happened in Act 1, some of this felt a little unnecessary. However, this happened a lot less in Act 2 and it made the story much easier to follow meaning is was easier to start putting clues together to make decisions about each character before the grand reveal.
I very much enjoyed the twists and turns in the second half and was completely shocked by the ending, no matter how much it made sense. I’m sure I may have even let out a rather loud gasp at one point! What was even more lovely was this it was extremely evident that the audience enjoyed their Tuesday night out, with some even on their feet during the company bow.
I do hope the audience becomes larger throughout the week as this play is brilliantly entertaining.
Review by Laura Whittingham
A Murder Is Announced is On At The Churchill Theatre until Saturday 14th May. You can find out more and book tickets on their website.