gatha etc

Sarah Parks as Margaret, Lin Blakley as Agatha and Gilly Tompkins as Miss Marple.

Picture: Craig Sugden

Murder, Margaret and Me

Malvern Theatres


For those, like me, who remember indulging in a Saturday afternoon of black and white movie murder mysteries with the irrepressible Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple, there will be a sense of nostalgia surrounding this new production.

Murder, Margaret and Me is a play that, in the true style of Agatha Christie, turns everything on its head.

The drama comedy is based around the strained relationship between Rutherford and Christie while the first movie is being made, which gradually turns into mutual admiration.

Philip Meeks has finely tuned and tweaked his tale that adds a mild touch of psychological thriller and detection into the secrets the two women hold.

The Queen of Crime has this time turned sleuth as she tries to get to the bottom of Rutherford's curious behaviour. The result is a gentle but appealing story with fine acting and subtle gags.

There are plenty of in-jokes, music from the films and the detailed information on both these women's lives shows real insight and research on Meeks' part.

Added to that is a narrator in the form of the spirit of Miss Marple, played with touching humour by Gilly Tompkins. She's a blessing to keep the story flowing in the right direction.

The play has been produced through a collaboration between Malvern Theatres, Churchill Theatre Bromley and Tilted Wig Productions and features the usual lavish set associated with Tilted Wig. Some of you may remember their recent tours of The Picture Of Dorian Gray and Great Expectations that were strong on the decor and costumes; and this is no different.

There have obviously been painstaking efforts to ensure Christie and Rutherford's apparel are accurate, which adds to the ambience and believability of this story.

Taking on the Christie role is Lin Blakeley, a far cry from her character as Pam Coker in EastEnders. She is the epitome of Christie with an unnerving and dogged approach to her mission.

Bringing out Rutherford's eccentric mannerisms beautifully is Sarah Parks and the pair are an ideal contrast to each other on stage.

Damian Cruden's direction keeps an even flow to the proceedings, adding touches of the macabre along the way - but it never gets to scary or chilling.

While there's no real crime to solve, there's plenty of intrigue and mystery along with a fascinating plot into these two remarkable women - and that's gripping enough. To 12-10-19

Alison Brinkworth 


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