And Then There Were None – Review By Frances Winston
Smock Alley Theatre 1662, 6-7 Exchange Street Lower, Temple Bar, Dublin 8, until 28th January @ 8pm, Tickets €15/12
It is quite brave of No Drama, an amateur dramatic group, to take on a story like And Then There Were None. This is possibly one of Agatha Christie’s best-known tales, and contains an array of deeply complex characters, none of whom (in true Christie tradition) are what they seem.
In a nutshell, ten people are invited to a grand house on a remote island, and, of course, they all accept, despite most of their invitations being hugely dubious.
Upon arrival, they find no sign of their host, but are confronted with demons from their past, and they quickly realise that someone wants to see them all dead. With no way off the island, and no idea who is trying to pick them off one by one, they can trust no-one, and must keep their wits about them to try and survive.
As amateur theatre goes, this is quite ambitious. They have a rather grand set, which really sets the tone of the piece. As with all am dram, the quality of the performances is variable, but given the tone of the language utilised by Christie, even the biggest ham can usually convince in one of her roles.
One thing I would say that all of them need to look out for is projection though. At times it was difficult to hear them, as all had a tendency to drop their voices. While this is not a disaster in an intimate space like Smock Alley, in a larger venue it would really take an audience out of key moments.
The group have managed to find a lot of humour in Christie’s writing – I’m not always sure if it was intentional, but it works – and this also helps distract from any minor flaws.
The biggest problem I and my companion had with this was actually the transitions. Without exception, they all felt a bit clunky, and this is something that could be looked at. If this were a professional theatre group, I could nit-pick away at other things, but in true ‘lets put on a show’ spirit, I won’t, as they have done an extremely good job when you consider that this isn’t what they actually ‘work’ at.
This is a very entertaining whodunnit. Be warned though, it is also very long at 2 hours and 20 minutes.
But ensure that you’ve eaten beforehand, and grab yourself a comfortable pew, and you’ll have a very enjoyable evening.
And Then There Were None is playing at:
Smock Alley Theatre 1662, 6-7 Exchange Street Lower,
Temple Bar, Dublin 8
Until 28th January @ 8pm
Peter Blennerhassett as Philip Lombard
Noel Cahill as Thomas Rogers
Kate Cosgrave as Vera Elizabeth Claythorne
Louise Dunne as Emily Caroline Brent
Szabi Fernczi as Fred Narracott
Triona Keane as Ethel Rogers
Michael O’Kelly as Dr Edward Armstrong
Declan Ryan as William Henry Blore
Robert Shaw-Smith as General Mackenzie
Ciaran Traenor as Anthony Marston
Adam Walsh as Justice Lawrence Wargrave
Directed by Renée van de Schoor
Assistant Director Siobhan Hickey
Produced by David Breen