And Then There Were None at The Alexandra, Birmingham - Review

And Then There Were None at The Alexandra, Birmingham - Review

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Posted 2024-03-06 by Andy Colemanfollow

Tue 05 Mar 2024 - Sat 09 Mar 2024




Ten seemingly unconnected strangers are summoned to a large house on a remote island, with no communication with the outside world. Secrets are revealed as each guest faces danger and possible death. No, it’s not an alternative version of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here, it’s a terrific new production of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, playing at The Alexandra in Birmingham until Saturday, March 9, 2024.

The cast of And Then There Were None. Pic: Manuel Harlan


Directed by Lucy Bailey , who also directed the long-running Witness for the Prosecution in London, the play is set in 1939 when rumours of war and Hitler’s ambition to invade Poland are circulating. We are introduced to each of the ten guests as they arrive by boat on the island off the Devonshire coast. A storm subsequently makes a return to the mainland impossible and there is no telephone in the mansion. They are stranded, which is not good as bad things begin to happen and the whole experience turns into a total nightmare.

The nursery rhyme ‘Ten Little Soldiers’ is introduced – a ditty that outlines how each of the ten soldiers dies. The guests quickly realise that the rhyme and their fates are linked. But who will perish next? And why? No spoilers here, but the tension is ratcheted up, leading to an unforgettable conclusion, which you just have to see for yourself.

David Yelland as Judge Wargrave contemplates the ten little soldier statues. Pic: Manuel Harlan


Whodunnits are, by their very nature, dialogue-heavy, but Lucy Bailey has balanced this necessity with flashbacks to some of the characters’ stories. As the actors relate their secrets, we see scenes of battle and tragic deaths recreated with imaginative lighting behind gauze curtains.

Scenes of battle behind Sophie Walter and Jeffrey Kissoon. Pic: Manuel Harlan


Every cast member is excellent. Some are recognisable from TV programmes – Bob Barrett (Holby City) is nervy Doctor Armstrong, Andrew Lancel (Coronation Street) is the cocky William Blore, and David Yelland (Poirot, Foyle’s War and The Crown) takes the role of calm but firm Judge Wargrave.

Religious Emily Brent, played by Katy Stephens, tells her story. Pic: Manuel Harlan


Also impressive are Sophie Walter as secretary Vera Claythorne, Jeffrey Kissoon as General MacKenzie and Katy Stephens, who provides some welcome comedy as the bible-bashing Emily Brent. Completing the strong cast are Joseph Beattie as former soldier Philip Lombard, Oliver Clayton as playboy Anthony Marston, Lucy Tregear as hired help Georgina Rogers and Nicola May-Taylor as cook Jane Pinchbeck.

Even if you know the story – and the identity of the person whodunnit – this is a satisfying, if sometimes harrowing, night out.

Rating: 4 out of 5.


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279673 - 2024-03-04 12:15:16

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