Tag Archives: Colin Buchanan

REVIEW: And Then There Were None – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

A cast of TV favourites celebrate the 125th anniversary of the birth of Agatha Christie and the 10th anniversary of the Agatha Christie Theatre Company with a production of the Queen of Crime’s much-loved masterpiece, And Then There Were None at the Theatre Royal this week.

Ten strangers are lured to a remote island off the coast of Devon. On arrival their mysterious host is missing. Stranded by a raging storm and taunted by references to a sinister nursery rhyme the guests begin to disappear one by one…

Good old-fashioned storytelling always wins out and so it proves here. Based on the best-selling mystery novel of all time, And Then There Were None has overtaken The Mousetrap in popularity to become of the nation’s favourite plays and Bill Kenwright’s production doesn’t disappoint. The stellar cast, gorgeous Art Deco set and masterful plotting combine to produce a gripping and atmospheric work that will keep you pinned to the edge of your seat until the very end.

Director Joe Harmston, has fine form with the works of Christie, having directed all of the previous adaptations from the company, and his deft touch shows here. Limited to a fixed set, he manages to keep the interest levels high throughout, the only gripe is the somewhat static first act (which necessarily sets the scene), however, the labyrinthine plot is more than enough to keep us transfixed.

There are solid performances throughout from the raft of familiar TV faces, giving life to this seemingly disparate group of house-party guests. Veterans Paul Nicholas as Judge Wargrave and Eric Carte as retired General Mackenzie, particularly impress as do the ever-reliable Ben Nealon as the charming but dangerous cad, Philip Lombard and Mark Curry as butler Rogers. The only weak link is Kezia Burrows as secretary Vera Claythorne, in trying to capture the essence of a flighty young thing from the thirties, she careers way too far into caricature.

This is a class act from start to finish and proves that you really can’t beat a good old-fashioned murder mystery.

And Then There Were None runs at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow until Saturday 24th October 2015 – miss it at your peril.

Tickets: http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/and-then-there-were-none/

REVIEW: Dangerous Corner – Theatre Royal, Glasgow 4****

In J.B. Priestley’s Dangerous Corner, it takes nothing more than a chance remark to set in motion a chain of revelations that have devastating consequences for the guests at publisher Robert and Freda Caplan’s country house dinner party.

Opening and closing like an intricate Chinese puzzle box, the plot unravels as each guest reveals their part in the suicide of Robert Caplan’s brother a year earlier.

Priestley’s first play, written in 1932 isn’t the world-renowned masterpiece that An Inspector Calls is, but it is a work that clearly highlights the promise of its writer. Whilst in many ways the piece is very much of its time: the country house setting, the upper class at play, it is also astonishingly ahead of its time, dealing as it does with drug abuse, homosexuality and adultery, themes rarely touched upon in 1930s theatre.

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Played out against the detail-perfect Art Deco set and costume design of Gary McCann, director Michael Attenborough does a fine job of keeping the interest high in what is essentially a static piece. He does however have an easy job thanks to the top-notch cast. Michael Praed is particularly note-worthy as the debonair and devilish cad Charles Stanton, who as well as poking and prodding his fellow guests into revealing more than they they would ideally wish to, delivers his own startling revelations and elicits the lions-share of the laughs with a biting wit. Finty Williams as Caplan’s wife Freda, is effective in portraying both her own disparate emotions and the social dilemma of whether or not to serve sandwiches to her guests, one of whom may or may not be a murderer. Rosie Armstrong, assuming Kim Thomson’s pivotal role as Olwen Peel is also impressive.

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The trio are more than ably supported by familiar TV faces Colin Buchanan (Dalziel and Pascoe) as a solid Robert Caplan and Matt Milne (Downton Abbey) as Gordon Whitehouse, though at times Milne looks a little ill at ease in his transition from downstairs to upstairs as troubled (and slightly hysterical) toff Gordon.

Don’t go looking for any controversial comment on the themes that are mentioned in the play, go along and enjoy a hugely entertaining piece of theatre from a highly talented cast and a skilled director and writer.

Runs until Saturday

Tickets at: http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/dangerous-corner/theatre-royal-glasgow/