By Pratiksha Pathak
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
NO SPOILERS ARE INCLUDED IN THIS REVIEW
There was a time when people would wait patiently, with unwavering curiosity, for the next murder mystery by Agatha Christie. Although that time has passed, the novels still generate similar interest, making them popular even today. As a result of this interest, even decades later, the novels are being adapted in theatrical forms, with unprecedented success. One such adaptation is currently running in the New Theatre in the heart of Cardiff city centre.
The Miss Marple mystery begins with the residents of Chipping Cleghorn astonished after reading an advertisement in the local newspaper that a murder will take place this coming Friday, at 6:30 pm, at Little Paddocks, the home of Letitia Blacklock. Unable to resist the temptation and their personal curiosity, a group of residents gather around the house. Within this gathering, a shot is fired, and here the audience meets Miss Marple, played by Sarah Thomas, who assists the inspector and his assistant in solving the murder mystery. Her insights are extremely valuable in solving the case and identifying the killer.
Throughout the play, the audience feels involved and attempts to decode the mystery with the detective. A few red herrings are introduced here and there to distract the viewers, which increase the involvement as we try harder to identify the killer. The old-school murder mystery doesn’t drop at any point and keeps everyone engaged throughout the course of the play.
The attention to detail hooks you in and urges you to solve the mystery, and the audience feels like they have been transported into an old village, with a relaxed setting. However, at times it became difficult for the audience to hear the dialogues clearly, especially for those who were sitting in the rows at the back.
The music by Lynette Webster adds a layer to the theatrical performance. I’d definitely recommend the play to any Agatha Christie fan, or anyone who enjoys watching murder mysteries in general.