Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None is one of the hallmarks that pioneered the murder mystery genre, following 10 guests whom were invited to a distant Island far from mainland. Little to their knowledge, a murder spree would ensue targeting each guest one by one, replicating the events similar to that of an unknown yet very familiar nursery rhyme.
The plot contrasts well with the character’s tongue-in-cheek discourse, which spotlights bombastic energy dynamics delivered by the actors, complimenting each character’s distinctive personalities. The audience was charmed into fits of laughter by showcasing lighthearted interactions, mixed with spurs of comedic relief. The actors, dressed in costumes reflecting their class status, offered strong emotional substance behind their motives. Remaining true to their respective characters, it allowed the development of the story to be told organically through dialogue, by casting suspicion amongst each other to keep speculation behind the murderer framed around the ominous poem hung on the living room wall.
Combine the dynamic exchange between characters with the cosy welcoming choice of a living room, the lighting invites a warm ambience that is contained within the tight-knitted set, masking the character’s apparent isolation from the mainland.The particular attention to colour was a clever touch to establish atmosphere, shifting from shades of tropical orange – indicative of a new day – to stone-cold blue to reflect misery and shock.The combination of lighting and sound gives the impression that the stage is alive, as the lingering tension and fear of death is sliced by a sudden black out, unforeseeably robbing the audience of their sight.
Props were kept at a minimum. Attention to the symbolic detail of the 10 soldier statues and poem, entitled “10 little soldiers”, was made visible in plain sight, representing all 10 of the characters. Without careful consideration, one could turn a blind-eye to a seemingly ubiquitous, harmless detail to the set that holds so much currency to the plot. The screechy tape recording accusing each person guilty of murder reveals the omniscient, sinister underlying motive masked behind the courteous invite to a get-away vacation. The heightened suspense, meshed with the shrillness of screeches and gunshots, was enough to catch the auditorium off guard.
And Then There Were None was nothing short of incredible. With every aspect – from set design, lighting, the actor’s delivery and eccentric stage presence to bring the story alive – exceeded expectations.The actors and production crew’s unique take captured the very essence of murder mystery whilst simultaneously adding a fresh breath of air by its light and humorous approach, which juxtaposed well to the manic and suspenseful undertones of the plot. The simple fixed set and the actor’s skillful craft was enough to keep the audience glued to the events being unfolded and kept me craving for more.
IMAGE: Jack Goodison | SUTCo