BWW Reviews: PPT Presents Chic AND THEN THERE WERE NONE by Agatha Christie
Sit down for a sophisticated cocktail on the Green Bay shores at Door County's Peninsula Players Theatre (PPT) this weekend. Then enter through the theater doors at eight in the evening to enjoy the stage adaptation of Agatha Christie's best selling novel that has sold over 100 million copies to date: And Then There Were None. Considered one of Christie's masterpiece mysteries, the plot centers around a "Ten Little Indians" poem. A poem eventually changed to "Ten Little Soldiers" for an American version published around 1940 while Christie's story continued to mesmerize readers and become the best selling mystery novel of all time.
Door County can experience Christie's novel first hand at PPT directed by Linda Fortunato and performed within the gorgeous set designed by Jack Magaw. The production places ten unlikely characters in the living room of a monumental mansion on Soldier Island, located directly off the coast of Devon, England in costumes designed by Kärin Simonson Kopischke. The garments and furnishings revel in the elegant late 1930's setting to create a lush backdrop for the mystery to unravel.
In Christie's mystery, an unknown Mr. and Mrs. Owens invite ten unrelated people, all meeting for the first time, to their mansion for a holiday weekend. Each of the ten people has supposedly murdered someone, only to be exonerated or never caught, yet they hide their guilt. During a two day insane, mad weekend, "The Owens" plan on extracting their own justice on each person by murdering them to revenge their supposed crimes.
One by one, similar to the ten little soldiers in the poem, miniature soldiers begin to fall off the mansion's fireplace mantle while the guests sense their own demise. One by one they too, die, until Then There Were None, no one to ever escape Soldier Island. As one character wistfully says before the murders in the mansion begin, "The pleasures of being on an island are overrated."
That being said by an actor, what an immense pleasure for the audience to watch this ensemble cast produce a cadre of eccentric personalities created by Christie from her novel. A beautiful young secretary Vera Claythorne played by Erica Elam carries the performance with realistic charm and winsome innocence paired with the dapper officer, Phillip Lombard. The attractive Matt Holzfeind in Lombard's part wins the affection of Vera until the very end, when dramatic twists to the mystery circumvent their love affair (or do they end in a happily ever after?) while the couple energizes the production with romantic chemistry.
Carol Kuykendall gives a quirky nervousness to the butler's wife, Mrs. Rogers, similar to Dale Benson's sincere portrayal of an elderly man near death, General MacKenzie, who repeats endlessly, "They're all wasting time." He admits to killing his young wife's lover, sending him to his death in battle. In the role of the egotistical, self-serving Anthony Marsten, Sean Fortunato memorably appears on stage briefly before being murdered, and every actor brings to life Christie's inventive personal indiscretions..
Each character eventually reveals their version of the murders they committed, which the audience will discover fascinating while the plot untangles as the guests continue to be killed in various rooms throughout the house in the two act performance. A realistic thunderstorm adds suspense and the required candlelight to the mystery, and for those in the audience unaware of this popular Agatha Christie story, the surprise ending can be left for the audience to uncover at the performance.
Peninsula Players continues And Then There Were None through July 27. Only one weekend left to be entertained by this renowned mystery writer, Christie, on the stage of an award winning summer theatre company in this professionally polished production brimming with chic and chilling suspense.
Peninsula Players Theatre presents Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None "Where the sun sets, the curtain rises & the stars shine" in Fish Creek through July 27. For information or tickets, please call 920.868.3287 or visit www.peninsulaplayers.com