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BWW Review: Kensington Arts Theatre's AND THEN THERE WERE NONE is Murderous Fun

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If it's actors you want to see, living or otherwise, get thee to the Kensington Town Hall for the Arts Theatre production of Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None."

BWW Review:  Kensington Arts Theatre's AND THEN THERE WERE NONE is Murderous Fun

If it's actors you want to see, living or otherwise, get thee to the Kensington Town Hall for the Arts Theatre production of Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None." Director John Nunemaker has assembled a large cast, to mark a triumphant return to the stage after a long, long absence. With limited, socially-distanced seating and masks on in the audience, it's a safe night out for those watching.

Less safe, however, if you happen to be onstage.

"And Then There Were None" is the classic whodunit, a murder mystery in that most perfect of crime scenes-a remote, windswept island mansion where the power goes out, the boats never seem to arrive, and the guests of our mysterious host have a nasty habit of falling dead, by a wide variety of means.

The action really kicks in when a gramophone (a turntable or record player, for you young folk) in a side room plays a recording of a Voice, accusing everyone there of murder. And everyone takes turns being at first appalled by the accusation, but then letting us in on all their guilty secrets. Some are truly chilling, while others at least appear to have been with the, erm, best of intentions.

The trick with a show like this is to make sure the audience suspects everyone-right up to the point when they turn up dead. And there are standouts among the suspects, of course: Noah Stourer is as slick as they come in the role of Philip Lombard, who clearly has designs on Vera Claythorne, played here by Justine Summers as a real femme fatale.

Then you have the contrasts in hot and cold, with Vince Terlep's frenzy in the role of Dr. Armstrong and Ken Kemp's sang-froid as Sir Lawrence Wargrave. As Emily Brent, the holy roller of the group, Emily Meyers gives us an exceptionally cold-blooded church lady. Meanwhile, Matt Leyendecker plays Anthony Marsden, the carefree hot-rodder, bragging about breaking all known land-speed records from London to Devon.

As each guest (or servant, the staff is by no means immune) departs from this life, the ten wee figures on the fireplace mantle mysteriously disappear, as if keeping count of those left alive. How they disappear is anyone's guess, but any number of suspects could have been behind it.

Syndi Huth and Jenn Maschal-Lorms have collaborated on a classic English drawing room, complete with French doors and blackout curtains, and the nursery rhyme of "Ten Little Soldiers" inscribed on the all above the fireplace. Hilary Leyendecker has assembled a nice set of period costumes, filled with color and variety, Marc Allan Wright has set the lights to advantage for everyone (although to be honest, murder is more fun by candlelight, isn't it?)

It's time to get out, people. I mean, let's face it - you can only get by for so long on Disney+ or Netflix before you want a taste of living flesh-er, live theatre. With their production of "And Then There were None," Kensington Arts Theatre has got a great evening out - if you don't mind the occasional gunshot, offstage shrieks, or bodies lying around. Great fun, I'd say.

Running time: 2 ½ hours, including one intermission.

Production Photo, left to right: L to R: Noah Steurer as Philip Lombard, Kirk Patton, Jr. as William Blore, Ken Kemp as Sir Lawrence Wargrove, and Vince Terlep as Dr. Armstrong. Photo by Mark McLaughlin Photography.

And Then There Were None plays until August 15 at the Kensington Town Hall, 3710 Mitchell Street, Kensington MD (just off of Connecticut Avenue, north of the Beltway).

For Tickets visit: https://www.katonline.org/shows-tickets/


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