And Then There Were None – Smock Alley – Review by Fran Winston
Smock Alley Theatre 1662, 6-7 Exchange Street Lower, Temple Bar, Dublin 8
24th – 28th January @ 8pm
It is quite brave of No Drama, an amateur dramatic group, to take on a story like And Then There Were None. This is possibly one of the best known tales by Agatha Christie and contains an array of deeply complex characters, none of whom (in true Christie tradition) are what they seem.
In a nutshell, ten people are invited to a grand house on a remote island and of course they all accept despite most of their invitations being hugely dubious. Upon arrival they find no sign of their host but are confronted with demons from their past and they quickly realise that someone wants to see them all dead. With no way off the island and no idea who is trying to pick them off, they can trust no one and must keep their wits about them to try and survive.
As amateur theatre goes this is quite ambitious. They have a rather grand set which really sets the tone of the piece. As with all am dram the quality of the performances is variable but given the tone of the language utilised by Christie even the biggest ham can usually convince in one of her roles. One thing they need to look out for is projection. At times it was difficult to hear them as all had a tendency to drop their voices. While this is not a disaster in an intimate space like Smock Alley, in a larger venue it would really take an audience out of key moments.
The group have managed to find a lot of humour in the writing – I’m not always sure if it was intentional but it works – and this also helps detract from any minor flaws. The biggest problem I had with this was actually the transitions. Without exception they all felt a bit clunky and this is something that could be looked at. If this were a professional theatre group I could nit pick away at other things but in true “let’s put on a show” spirit I won’t as they have done an extremely good job when you consider that this isn’t what they actually “work” at.
This is a very entertaining whodunnit. Be warned though it is also very long at 2 hours and 20 minutes. But ensure that you’ve eaten beforehand and grab yourself a comfortable pew and you’ll have a very enjoyable evening.
Cast and Crew:
Peter Blennerhassett as Philip Lombard
Noel Cahill as Thomas Rogers
Kate Cosgrave as Vera Elizabeth Claythorne
Louise Dunne as Emily Caroline Brent
Szabi Fernczi as Fred Narracott
Triona Keane as Ethel Rogers
Michael O’Kelly as Dr Edward Armstrong
Declan Ryan as William Henry Blore
Robert Shaw-Smith as General Mackenzie
Ciaran Traenor as Anthony Marston
Adam Walsh as Justice Lawrence Wargrave
Directed by Renée van de Schoor
Assistant Director Siobhan Hickey
Produced by David Breen