Providence Players of Fairfax present Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, based on her book of the same name. By one of the world’s most decorated crime writers, And Then There Were None remains one of the best-selling books of all time, outdone only by Shakespeare and the Bible! Tina Hodge Thronson directs a talented cast in this suspenseful thriller, arriving just in time to usher in the spooky season.
As this is a play driven mainly by dialogue, there is only one set, designed by John Coscia (who also led the construction). Since there are no set changes, Technical Director Chip Gertzog and his crew are free to add thoughtful details to the scenery, which is a lavish sitting room filled with elegant pieces of art and polished furniture. A framed children’s rhyme is prominently displayed–a whimsical feature that later suggests something more insidious. This home sits on an island, and while beautiful, it’s not easily accessible. The date is 1940, which is best shown in the costume design by Robbie Snow. The mid-century high-fashion worn by the ladies is a real treat to see, but it’s too bad the character with the most stylish outfits doesn’t last very long!
Head butler Rogers (Christopher Persil) and his harried, put-upon wife (Ariana Colligan) are feverishly trying to ready the house for incoming guests. An array of strangers arrive, and are a bit disappointed when they’re told that their hosts (a couple named “Mr. and Mrs. Owen”) have been delayed, and are set to arrive the following day. As they each share the details of their invitations, they are puzzled to discover that none of them have ever personally met the hosts, and have only shared (little) correspondence either directly with “Mr. Owen” or through a mutual friend. Since there are ten of them, this is highly peculiar, and while discussing this odd coincidence, a booming voice interrupts their conversation. The voice is a recording, and it addresses each guest in turn, accusing them of specific acts of murder from their pasts. Bewildered and upset, they agree that they seem to have been lured to the island by an unknown madman, and become frightened once they realize that they’re stuck on this island for the foreseeable future.
One after another, the guests show up murdered, eerily killed in the same fashion and order as the actions of the framed rhyme. The survivors quickly realize that the murderer must be a member of their party, and naturally, panic ensues and tensions skyrocket. Who is the killer amongst them hiding in plain sight? As the suspenseful plot unfolds, speculations arise both onstage and off, as audience members cannot resist whispering their theories to each other!
The actors all do great jobs with their characters, with each one varying wildly from another. Roxanne Waite is the snide, snobby Toni Marston, a vain young woman who has more money than she does spirit. Jaclyn Robertson is all business as Vera Claythorne, a young secretary who had been hired sight unseen by “Mr. Owen.” Vera is professional and polite, but has a slightly mysterious, unsettled air about her if you pay close attention. Craig Geoffrion gets a lot of laughs and is a clear audience favorite as William Blore, a sociable man who houses a large secret, and Allen McRae is great as Phillip Lombard, a flirtatious charmer who has his eyes set on Vera. David Ranowsky takes a somber turn as General Mackenzie, a heartbroken man who seems to be living in the past. James McDaniel is Judge Wargrave, who leads the investigation with a stoic sensibility that one would expect from a former judge. Amy Griffin plays Dr. Armstrong, a nerve specialist who is ironically unnerved, and Sara Bennett is very funny as Emily Brent, a judgmental old woman who sneers at the younger ladies’ “disgusting fashions” and walks around quoting Bible verses.
It’s a large cast, but it is fairly easy to keep track of everyone because the actors are all so uniquely creative with their roles. While there were a few flubbed lines and a couple of performances that could be a bit more polished, the overall quality was fantastic. With a talented cast and imaginative crew, Providence Players does Agatha Christie justice with one of her most treasured works.
Providence Players’ production of And Then There Were None proves to be a well-worthy night of entertainment–it’s a great way to get into the spirit of Halloween!
Running Time: Approximately two hours, including one 15-minute intermission.
And Then There Were None plays through October 19, 2019, at James Lee Community Center Theater– 2855 Annandale Road, VA. Purchase your tickets through the box office (703-425-6782), at the door, or online.
The role of Fred Narracott was played by Scott Stofko.