Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Cast set to deliver classic Christie murder mystery

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Among the cast of Howick Little Theatre’s production of the play A Murder Is Announced are actors Stephanie Liebert, playing Miss Marple, and Barrie Graham, as Inspector Craddock. Photo supplied Andrew Johnson

An intriguing tale by the ‘Queen of Crime’ will keep audiences guessing as a village’s resident’s gather in anticipation of witnessing a person’s untimely demise.

Howick Little Theatre is preparing to stage a production of Agatha Christie’s classic mystery A Murder Is Announced.

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

Christie is the best-selling fiction writer of all time.

A Murder Is Announced features one of her most famous fictional characters, the amateur sleuth Jane Marple.

The production is adapted for the stage by Leslie Darbon with the story described as a fine example of Christie’s storytelling prowess.

Its plot is sparked by a curious advertisement in the local gazette of the quaint village of Chipping Cleghorn in the UK.

It states: “A murder is announced and will take place on Friday, October 13th, at Little Paddocks, at 6.30pm.”

As the village’s residents gather in a house at the specified time, the lights abruptly go out, turning a supposed prank into a chilling reality.

Cousins says the play is a “light-hearted whodunit”.

“It is very funny and pacy with lots of twists and red herrings to keep people guessing.

“It’s a visit to a simpler time, with funny and likable characters. It’s timeless in that way.

“I’ve been fortunate to get such a great cast. They’re very experienced and talented.

“We often have to refocus because we’re enjoying ourselves so much.”

The cast includes Carleena Walsh as the character Letitia Blacklock, who owns the house hosting the announced murder.

She stars alongside Jo Crichton, playing her companion Dora ‘Bunny’ Bunner.

Stephanie Liebert is stepping into the iconic shoes of Miss Marple, the ever-curious amateur sleuth.

It wouldn’t be a Christie play without a wide variety of characters to keep audience members guessing, with talented actors Emily Briggs, James Calverley, Lisa Inman, Shelby Sparks, Viktoria Jowers-Wilding, John Edwards, Stephen Moratti, and Barrie Graham taking on roles also.

Theatre committee member Andrew Johnson says Christie has enthralled readers and viewers alike with her masterfully-crafted stories for more than 70 years.

“At the heart of her enduring popularity is the combination of suspense, intrigue, and a dash of humour that keeps audiences guessing until the very end.

“The enduring appeal of Christie’s mysteries are undisputed, and the cast and crew at Howick Little Theatre found themselves a little surprised that this was the theatre’s first-ever staging of a Miss Marple mystery.”

A Murder Is Announced

Directed by Matthew Cousins

Howick Little Theatre, 1 Sir Lloyd Drive, Pakuranga

Season: July 8-29, with shows at 8pm and 2pm matinees on July 9 and July 16.

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