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A Murder Is Announced Review

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by Tony Collins (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer specialising mainly in health and education and living in Staffordshire. Find me on Linked In
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Judy Cornwell Brings Super Sleuth Miss Marple To Life
The amateur sleuth that is Miss Marple has clearly lost none of her sparkle or appeal despite the current TV and film trend for sophisticated labs and hi-tech gadgets.

She is once again at her understated detecting best in the classic Agatha Christie mystery, A Murder Is Announced, which is performing this week at the Lichfield Garrick theatre.

A Murder Is Announced
Residents of Little Paddocks are shocked to hear of the murder announcement

The title of the play is due to an alarming announcement in the local paper that serves the quaint sounding village of Chipping Cleghorn.

It says that a murder is due to take place in the country house known as Little Paddocks at the precise time of 6.30pm on the forthcoming Friday.

Needless to say, at that precise time, when several people are assembled in the lounge, the lights suddenly go out and three shots ring out.

A Murder Is Announced, Judy Cornwell, Diane Fletcher
Miss Marple (Judy Cornwell) and Letitia Blacklock (Diane Fletcher) ponder the murder mystery

It would be unfair to reveal any more for those whodunnit fans who have yet to see A Murder Is Announced for themselves.

But, having included myself in that category, it is fair to say that I did not see the precise end coming.

The Middle Ground Theatre Company has created a lavish new production of Agatha Christie's murder mystery, which finishes its run at the Lichfield Garrick on Saturday 27 February before continuing its tour of the country.

A Murder Is Announced, Judy Cornwell, Tom Butcher
Inso Craddock (Tom Butcher) and Miss Marple (Judy Cornwell) put their detective heads together

The production clearly benefits enormously from three leading actresses who each have distinguished careers spanning many years.

The honour of playing Miss Marple goes to Judy Cornwell who is probably best loved for her role as Daisy in the BBC sit-com Keeping Up Appearances.

But there are equally splendid performances from Diane Fletcher, best known as Elizabeth Urquhart in House Of Cards, who plays the central role of Letitia Blacklock, and Sarah Thomas, who appeared as Glenda Wilkinson in Last Of The Summer Wine for 24 years, who plays 'Bunny'.

Lichfield Garrick
A Murder Is Announced runs at the Garrick until February 27

An excellent supporting cast includes Rachel Bright, who played Poppy Meadow in Eastenders, Patrick Neyman, Dean Smith (Waterloo Road), and Tom Butcher, who brings his experience as PC Loxton in The Bill to the role of Inspector Craddock.

In fact, in a seemingly rare occurrence for Agatha Christie, Inspector Craddock seems to be far more accomplished as a detective than the interfering Miss Marple.

A Murder Is Announced runs at the Lichfield Garrick until February 27. Tickets costing from £21 can be booked by visiting or by calling 01543 412121.

Remaining UK Tour Dates

Tue 23 - Sat 27 February Lichfield Garrick Theatre
Tue 1 - Sat 5 March Buxton Opera House
Mon 21 - Sat 26 March Queen's Theatre, Barnstaple
Tue 29 March - Sat 2nd April Shanklin Theatre, Isle Of Wight
Tue 12 – Sat 16 April Wyvern Theatre, Swindon
Mon 18 – Sat 23 April Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds
Tue 26 April – Sat 1 May Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne
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Why? Classic Murder Mystery Sees Miss Marple In Fine Form
When: 25 Feb - 1 May 2016
Phone: 01543 412121
Where: Lichfield Garrick, Castle Dyke, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 6DH
Cost: £21-£26 per ticket
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