The Unexpected Guest – November 2007

6/10

By: Agatha Christie

Directed by: Joe Harmston

Venue: Connaught Theatre

Date: Tuesday 20th November 2007

We’d seen this play before, but again we couldn’t remember all the details. We remembered enough for the denouement not to be unexpected, but we still enjoyed the evening.

The set was a massive sweep of white curtains, covering enough windows to keep a double glazing salesman happy for years, and some furniture. The setting was clearly 1950s. Above the windows were three large panels with African scenes – the victim was previously a big game hunter out there – and during scene changes we were treated to some African drumming and chanting. All a giant red herring, of course.

The plot was straightforward enough – no need to give anything away here – and the parts were well enough played. Sergeant Cadwallader, the Welsh policeman, had apparently done a stint in the Met, but otherwise the performances fitted well. Richard Blackwood was particularly entertaining as the victim’s personal servant; he reminded me of Paterson Joseph, and he got plenty of humour out of the part.

The start was a surprise – the lights went out suddenly, and there were several loud shots, which sent the audience into paroxysms of twittering; a little too much, if you ask me, although it was a good effect. This was definitely a cut above the average Christie production, and a good evening at the theatre.

© 2007 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me

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