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Review: A Murder is Announced

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Posted on: 17 September 2023


Review by Lynette Watson

The killing doesn’t just happen in Christie’s play. It comes thanks to an announcement in the local paper, stating that it will take place at Little Paddocks, Chipping Cleghorn – the genteel home of Letitia Blacklock (Alexandra Elliott) on Friday the 13th at 6.30pm.

That evening, undeterred, Letitia hosts a gathering of family and friends, and – sure enough – one of those present is despatched in the large drawing room!

With a dead body, a room full of possible suspects, and a shoal of red herrings, the question to be answered is… whodunnit? Enter super-sleuth, Miss Marple (Jane Towers), to investigate, with the assistance of the local police Inspector Craddock (Michael King) to eventually reveal and unmask the murderer.

The play takes time to gather pace and get to where it’s going. It lays all the clues out precisely – typical of the 1950’s era. Transitions between scenes are marked by excellent projections of informative newspaper headlines – an interesting ploy this; far more inventive that the usual blackouts.

As the action rattles on, director John Bale ensures that each character is clearly defined, delving into the realms of both a ‘who’ and ‘why’ dunnit, where everyone could be the plausible killer.

Towers brings her own style and commendable subtlety to her role as Miss Marple, at times assisting or hindering Inspector Craddock. King gives energy to the play and is a joy to watch – the two bounce off each other brilliantly.

There are solid performances from all the cast, including Elliott as Letitia Blacklock, and Diani Gatenby Davies makes the most of her role as the refugee maid, Mitzi, providing plenty of comic relief.

The production delivers all the elements of typical murder mystery and offers an enjoyable evening of suspenseful escapism!


Photo by Dave Morris.

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