2nd Story Theatre Kills It With Classic Christie Murder Mystery
Christie’s story keeps everyone guessing, right down to the last minute.By Mary DeBerry, Motif
Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None plays in repertory this summer at the 2nd Story Theatre in Warren. The synopsis sounds much like the long-running television series “Survivor.” However, the people trapped on this island are being eliminated by death, not tribal council.
The entire story and setting is a throw-back to a more genteel and mannered time. People introduced themselves, gentlemen wore suits, and ladies were always attired in appropriate dress. The audience is lulled into a pleasant mood until the first dead body drops. Adapted for the stage by Christie herself, the story is set in the 1940s on a remote island called Soldier Island. The guests have all been invited by a mysterious benefactor to enjoy a brief vacation in this lovely locale. However, we learn that the 10 strangers are all connected in a most ghastly way.
The 2nd Story Theatre crew created a lavish, exquisitely detailed set of the estate built by a wealthy and long gone family. One can practically feel the sea breeze wafting through the open solarium doors. A comfortable couch, covered in a soft green that matches the stripes on the wallpaper, is welcoming. Authentic details such as the iron stove and antique chess set assist the audience in absorbing the milieu before one actor sets foot on stage.
One may remember the old children’s rhyme as “Ten Little Indians.” Detailed notes, always generously supplied by 2nd Story, detail the not so polite origins of the title from a less politically correct time, but the story works equally well as “Ten Little Soldiers.” In fact, the guests, as they start to relax and get acquainted, recite the rhyme just before the first murder occurs. By the next morning, the guests discover there is no way off the island. And since this is the 1940s, there are no cell phones, or even a land line.
The two women of class in the cast are standouts: Miss Claythorne (Erin Elliott) and Miss Brent (Paula Faber). These two feisty women have no problem holding their own against all of the men. And thank goodness for Captain Lombard (Jay Bragan), who seems to take all the fearful mayhem as a lark. Continuously in a good mood, playing pranks, and flirting outrageously with Miss Claythorne, Lombard keeps everyone entertained. And Christie’s story keeps everyone guessing, right down to the last minute.