The Queen of Crime comes to the Gaiety Theatre. Agatha Christie’signature stamp has been truly honored in this production of ‘A Murder is Announced: A Miss Marple Mystery‘ – a tale of wealth, deception, hidden identity and murder,
The play is set in the refined furnishings of an upper-class, Victorian home. The main room is moderately decorated, designed by Michael Lunney (who also directed the play), creating an illusion of comfort and ease. Such equanimity is coarsely interrupted when the residents of Chipping Cleghorn notice a small notice in the local paper announcing that a murder is due to take place at 6.30pm in their home.
While the play is filled with stereotypical motifs of the crime genre, its sharp dialogue, clever direction and hilarious performances more than make up for its shortcomings. However, the plot often felt clustered, filled with unnecessary deviations from the mystery at hand.
It is the brilliant characterizations by the actors which really drive the performance. Without the comedic presence of the melodramatic maid (Lydia Piechowiak), the doting, yet forgetful, Bunny (Sarah Thomas), and the busybody Miss Marple (Cara Chase), the production would have become lost on most of the patrons. Its the chemistry of the actors which invite the spectator deeper into the narrative, guiding them through the complexity of the story.
Yes, Agatha Christie has certainly left her mark on the Irish audience. All across Dublin theatre fans are seeing the memo that all throughout early September, a murder will be taking place on the Gaiety stage; and just like the nosy culture we are, the seats will fill up in high anticipation. As the gun fires and a body falls to the floor, gasps of shock will vibrate throughout the auditorium, and we, along with Miss Marple, will be catapulted into the mystery.
by Kevin Worrall