And Then There Were None, The Agatha Christie Theatre Company
Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
In this classic whodunnit, ten people are called to an island off the Devon coast.
They are strangers to each other; yet they share a moral connection, for each has been complicit in the death or deaths of others.
Who is the mastermind behind this gathering of rogues? And why are they being bumped off in this highly stylised manner?
The plot, or a heavy handed clue to it, is literally writ large on the wall, in the form of a traditional nursery rhyme spelling out the forthcoming demise of each of ‘ten little soldiers’.
Their fate is sealed as the murder carries out his or her grisly revenge.
The thrill, of course, is in the plot, which sees justice done cleverly. We are told early on in a doom-laden voice-over what dark secret each holds.
Each of course denies their sin, each looks to the others as the killer.
For all that Agatha Christie’s work has become familiar and therefore safe, she offers a grim portrait of human nature beneath the veneer of civilisation.
As they each meet their fate one can only celebrate the fact that they are dead, for they are a horrible bunch with little to recommend them.
By the third act I was beginning to wish the killer would get on with it and dump the lot in the sea.
This production is spangled with TV heavyweights.
They do a very good job, and we leave the theatre feeling satisfied that evil will reap its just reward, albeit sometimes in unexpected ways.
By Nick Le Mesurier