full cast

Pictures: Manuel Harlan      

And Then There Were None

Malvern Theatres


Agatha Christie, the Queen of Crime’ wrote this compelling story shortly before the Second World War and it still has a fascinating resonance today. Eight individuals, strangers to each other, are lured to an island off the coast of Devon to be entertained by a butler and a cook.

The anticipated host and hostess have not arrived – they have been ‘delayed’ and are expected the next day, though bad weather prevents them crossing to the island  on the following morning – an island with no boat, no telephone and hence no escape.

Reminiscent of The Lord of the Flies these carefully selected adults (not children) are stranded on the island and they all prove to have caused the death or deaths of others and are therefore murderers. A succession of murders follows; there is no Poirot or Miss Marple to unravel the mystery. They are all collectively trapped and begin to anticipate that more victims will follow.

The range of characters provide a fascinating cast: the Harley Street doctor, the retired army general, the High Court judge, the purse-lipped spinster who has found religion, the young governess…. They provide colour and challenge one another as they begin to conclude that one of their number must be responsible for the successive deaths. Who will be the next victim? Who is causing the mayhem?

The design of the play is excellent – the sense of being on an island and surrounded by the waves is brilliantly conveyed; the sense of the interior of a grand hotel and the exterior of beach and cliff flowing together is very effective. 

David Yelland as Judge Wargrave with the mysteriously figures which reduce by one at each murder

The characters are portrayed very strongly. The retired general, ageing and nearing the end of his life anyway, beginning to lose his mind, is clearly delineated by Jeffery Kissoon; the doctor, a one-time surgeon who became a neurology specialist, is played by Bob Barrett and is clearly a nervous wreck himself (Doctor, heal thyself!); Vera Claythorne is the hosts’ secretary and a pivotal character played very clearly by Sophie Walters. David Yelland plays Judge Wargrave and carries the weight and presence required excellently too. Katy Stephens is a strong Emily Blunt whose presence on stage is always striking, and she brings humour and caricature to introduce a little light comedy. All the cast are strong and deliver well.

As the play progresses, the tension mounts, the sense of madness, chaos and nervous hysteria intensifies and the atmosphere where all control appears to be lost has powerful resonances in today’s chaotic world. No-one seems to be in control, there appears to be no escape, our characters move towards despair. The conclusion is brilliantly executed.

It was great to see a full auditorium. The audience were gripped and the conclusion was brilliant. Lucy Bailey and the creative team have done a first class job.  The show will run till Saturday 28th October and is not to be missed.

Tim Crow


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