Thursday, April 18, 2024

Agatha Christie mystery among theatre’s season

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Howick Little Theatre’s 2022 season included a staging of the play My Cousin Rachel, pictured, and it’s set to follow that with new productions this year. File photo supplied Andrew Johnson

The 2023 stage season at east Auckland’s Howick Little Theatre features a thriller, three comedies and a murder mystery from the ‘Queen of Crime’, Agatha Christie.

Theatre committee member Andrew Johnson says it’s excited to be offering such a diverse range of shows this year.

“It’s great to see theatre attracting a wide audience as people thirst for live thrills and laughs after two years of screens at home.

“Our short-play festival in October gives people a chance to hear new voices and the season combining new comedies, adaptations and well-loved classics means there’s great variety with something for everyone.”

The year gets under way with a production of writer Laura Wade’s comedy Home, I’m Darling, directed by Carleena Walsh.

The play runs from February 25 to March 18 and centres on the character Judy, a woman who appears to be the “perfect 1950s housewife”.

She makes her husband Johnny breakfast, pours him drinks and they dance their evenings away.

According to the theatre, the only problem is the play is set not in the 1950s but in the present day.

The laughs continue with the Karen Zacarias comedy The Book Club Play.

Directed by Deb Lind, it runs from May 6-27 and is described as a “hit comedy about books and the people who love them”.

It centres on a book club whose members find themselves starring in a documentary and having to confront changing group dynamics when they welcome an unusual new member.

The theatre then moves from comedy to crime with its staging of Agatha Christie’s A Murder Is Announced.

It’s directed by Matthew Cousins and runs from July 8-29.

The play’s story centres on the residents of British village Chipping Cleghorn and features one of Christie’s most famous fictional characters, the amateur sleuth Jane Marple.

She and the villagers are puzzled when an advert appears in the local gazette stating a murder is scheduled to take place and includes the time, date, and location.

From a classic murder mystery the theatre takes a dark turn to stage Frederick Knott’s thriller Wait Until Dark.

The play is adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher, directed by Carlos Lehmann, and runs from September 9-30.

It tells the story of the character Susan Hendrix, a blind woman terrorised by three men in her New York City apartment one night in 1944.

As tensions increase, she realises her blindness may in fact help her to escape the situation, but only once the sun goes down.

The theatre closes its 2023 season with the Norm Foster comedy Old Love, directed by Tracey Holdsworth and playing from November 11 to December 2.

The story is described as one of “courtship, rekindled romance and the indomitability of hope”, spanning three decades and focusing on the relationship between a salesman named Bud and his boss’s wife Molly.

It’s a clever and witty heart-warming journey celebrating the never-ending pursuit of love.
Contact the theatre on 09 534 1401 or go online to www.hlt.org.nz.

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