And Then There Were None - Review
NODA (National Operatic and Dramatic Association)Review by Hazel Hole
Title: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Director: Simon Reader
Performed at Dovercourt Theatre Group Studio on Wednesday 10th April 2019
I was warmly greeted by Margaret Coleman, Front of House Manager and Simon Reader, Director.
The action of this well known play takes place on secluded Soldier Island and revolves around eight disparate characters all of whom had received an unexpected invitation to visit from U.N.Owen. Of course, all the characters had helped in or hastened the death of someone in the past and had hidden their secrets well for many years. Previously unknown to each other, all had arrived on the island courtesy of the ferryman, Fred Narracott. Greg McDowell played this part of a rugged boat captain very well, with just a slight trace of a local accent. They were welcomed by the butler, Thomas Rogers, played by Andrew Dace and his wife, the cook Edith Rogers, played by Katherine Johnson. Thomas was a rather pompous character and his wife a stubborn and dogmatic woman, both played really well by Andrew and Katherine, who were well paired.
The Secretary, Miss Vera Claythorne, was glamorous and well organised and Sara Talbot-Ashby was excellent in her interpretation of this role. Lewis Rodger was at his best as he played Captain Philip Lombard, a bombastic and arrogant figure. Jordan Brown, as Mr Anthony Marston was fiery and quick tempered and looking for a fight after a road rage incident in which he nearly ran Dr Edward Armstrong, played by Greg Potter, off the road. Greg portrayed the doctor as a pious and over earnest figure. Linda Potter as Miss Emily Brent was a waspish, crotchety spinster and displayed some fantastic facial expressions. Rob Fisher, as General John MacKenzie hit just the right notes as an elderly gent unable to come to terms with the death of his wife. Rob Porter, as Detective William Blore was thoughtful and pondering, always looking for clues whilst Richard Kemp-Luck was Sir Lawrence Wargrave, a high court judge. Richard was ponderous, organised, considerate, weighing up all the likely scenarios and facts as, one by one, each of the characters met an untimely death and one of the soldier boys disappeared from the shelf. And then there were none !
The studio has an extremely small stage ( if one could call it a stage!) and no real entrances or exits. Angie Reader, as Stage Manage, aided by Caroline Thomas, was in charge of the various changes on stage and all seemed to run very smoothly, with no lengthy delays. Thanks to the imaginative set design by Simon Reader the audience could picture the island and foreshore, the sea and the sky and this was aided by excellent lighting effects ( Chris Holman) and realistic sound effects including waves and sea birds (Steve Gregory). Props ( Margaret Coleman and Chrissie Donegan) were minimal , mainly small tables, settees, cushions and ”tropical” plants and costumes (Katherine Johnson and Maree Noons ) were striking and very relevant to the period. Graham Green, aided by Richard Kemp-Luck, was again responsible for hair design whilst Megan Day dealt with makeup.
This was another excellent production from this small and very talented group and it was good to see them tackle a slightly more serious play than their recent comedy offerings. Well done to everyone involved , both on and off stage. I enjoyed this production immensely.
Hazel Hole MBE