Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Agatha Mystery Killed by Cliches; THEATRE

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Agatha Mystery Killed by Cliches; THEATRE

Article excerpt

Byline: NICHOLAS DE JONGH

And Then There Were None

Gielgud

THE BEST way to treat this all-too faithful stage adaptation of Agatha Christie's famous mystery story, in which 10 visitors to an island houseparty are one by one bumped off, would have been to send it up sky-high.

For these days, it is hard to take Christie-land seriously in the theatre.

Dame Agatha's fairytale versions of Thirties middle England, where farfrom-decent, wellborn people come up against murder, blood and the odd detective in gorgeous country houses, complete with flocks of servants, appear more than faintly ridiculous.

As for the way Christie's characters speak, it seems scarcely more natural than cats walking on stilts in its stiff, upper-lip blandness. For example: "Is anything the matter?" "It's Mrs Rogers.

She's dead." "Oh my God, how?"

When it comes to cheap thrills, or at least spooky ones, Kevin Elyot's adaptation, far from fresh or inventive, leaves me unthrilled. …

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