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Agatha Christie’s sharp-witted super sleuth Miss Marple is back with the UK tour of ‘The Mirror Crack’d’ showing at The Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham this week.
‘The Mirror Crack’d’ finds Miss Marple (Susie Blake) inconvenienced by a hurt ankle. Undeterred, the detective soon hears of a murder afoot in the village of St Mary Mead and is able to piece together the puzzle supported by an armchair, a walking stick and ever faithful friend Dolly Bantry (Veronica Roberts).
From the opening scene, a long framed glass corridor is central to the set complete with ornate chandeliers and clever lighting which manages to be both soft and sinister as and when required.
This simple yet effective stage setting allows the audience to focus fully on where the real magic is – the script. Christie’s clever weaving of intrigue entices the audience as they investigate alongside Marple and Chief Inspector Craddock (Oliver Boot).
Blake portrays a convincing Marple with sophistication, poise and humour. Boot excels in his role as a hapless policeman railroaded by the women around him who force him to evaluate his own poor performance on the beat.
As American actress Marina Gregg, Sophie Ward glitters in the role and is well supported by her overbearing, arrogant husband Jason Rudd (Joe McFadden). Both actors provide believable American accents and an air of superiority over those surrounding them.
Reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s other famous detective Poirot, Giuseppe Renzo (Lorenzo Martelli) provides a comic foil in the role of Marina’s faithful Italian butler. Another devoted servant, PA Ella Zielinsky (Sarah Lawrie) is perfectly abrupt and aloof in her delivery. Both Cherry Baker (Mara Allen) from Croydon and Lola Brewster (Chrystine Symone) from Chicago show great vulnerability and grace in their performances.
New to Marple myself, I was pleased to see a microcosm of community sensitively depicted. Sharply relevant, the story explores all types of relationships however dysfunctional and doesn’t shy away from facing reality.
Sensitive topics are also illustrated well and enables the onlooker to see the side of each and every suspect from different viewpoints. This was particularly well portrayed through the storyline thread of Heather (Jules Melvin) and Cyril (David Partridge) Leigh; normal people who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances through chance.
Following the interval, the denouement is slowly unravelled. There were audible gasps from the audience and whispers of ‘I thought it was them!’ which just goes to prove that these well-loved tales are just as enjoyable today as when they were first written. After all, everyone enjoys a whodunnit!
Both loyal fans and newcomers to the works of Agatha Christie will be entertained by this shrewd and stimulating production. As always, thank you to The Everyman Theatre for inviting us to see the show.
Are you a lifelong fan of Agatha Christie? Is Miss Marple your favourite of her characters? Planning to see the show? Comment below, say hello and let me know.
Love, Thrifty Mumma X
For further information about The Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham and to book tickets please visit: https://www.everymantheatre.org.uk
For further information about The Original Theatre Company and the tour of The Mirror Crack’d please visit: https://www.originaltheatre.com/our-productions/the-mirror-crackd/about-the-show