Agatha Christie’s world-famous amateur sleuth Miss Marple returned to Cardiff’s New Theatre on Tuesday evening in Middle Ground Theatre’s presentation of A Murder Is Announced.
Adapted for the stage by Leslie Darbon, A Murder Is Announced centres around the residents of Chipping Cleghorn who are surprised to read an advert in the local newspaper that a murder will take place at 6.30pm on Friday at Little Paddocks, the home of Letitia Blacklock. Unable to resist, the group gather at the house at the appointed time, then the lights go out and a gun is fired. Enter Miss Marple and Inspector Craddock who have their own methods of unravelling complex relationships and a web of intrigue in order to solve the mystery of a potential killer.
70 years on from its original presentation in book-form, A Murder Is Announced still captivates and thrills Agatha Christie fans of all ages. The setting of Little Paddocks may be steeped in a post-war simplicity of valve radios, luxury furniture, tea-sets and sherry glasses, but the timeless flow of Christie’s twisting, turning plot couldn’t be more alive and prominent.
The edge of the seat drama races along with a stellar cast of performers. Sarah Thomas slips into the role of Miss Marple with ease, as she combines eccentricity with an understanding of criminology and an anticipation of deception.
Tom Butcher’s Inspector Craddock brings assurance and pomposity to the unfolding murderous plot, which includes a who’s who of familiar faces featuring Barbara Wilshire as the unflappable Letitia Blackrock, Karen Drury’s lovable but ditsy Dora Bunner, Will Huntington’s cheeky charmer Patrick Simmons, Lucy Evans off-standish Julia Simmons and Emma Fernell’s mysterious Phillipa Haymes.
The suspense occasionally gives way to laughter, provided by Lydia Piechowiak as the cook, Mitzi. Miss Piechowiak frequently raises a laugh as the highly-strung servant who constantly reinvents her family history and misunderstands the other characters on every level.
Its certainly no mystery why this version of A Murder Has Announced has entertained audiences for over five years. Be sure to catch the presentation at Cardiff’s New Theatre which treads the boards daily until Saturday 15th February 2020.