Regent Rep, Christchurch Regent Centre’s nationally acclaimed ‘in-house’ company, returns with one of the greatest whodunits even written – Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, performed from Thursday 19 October to Saturday 21 October over three evenings and a Saturday matinée.
Ten strangers – each one guarding a terrible secret – are mysteriously lured under different pretexts to a desolate island off the coast of Devon. As their secrets are remorselessly revealed, the killer strikes – again and again. A bizarre backdrop to each death is the nursery rhyme ‘Ten Little Soldier Boys’, which begins: ‘Ten little soldier boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were Nine.’ And so the grisly litany goes on as revenge and retribution are enacted on Soldier Island.
Regent Rep regulars in the cast include Ian Knight as retired judge Sir Lawrence Wargrave and Tim Wallace-Abbot as mercenary soldier Philip Lombard, with Clare Rhodes returning after a gap of three years to play former governess Vera Claythorne. Other Regent Rep stalwarts include Alan Ponting as William Blore, Jane Haynes as the religious spinster Emily Brent, Nick Guy as Dr Armstrong and David Gillard as the retired General Mackenzie. Ignatius Harling appears with the company for the third time to play the manservant Rogers with Valerie Gillard as his wife, the cook/housekeeper Mrs Rogers. Paul Stillwell makes his second Regent Rep appearance playing local boatman Fred Narracott and newcomer Luke Solari de Moody, a student at St Peter’s, is making his company debut as the rich young Anthony Marston.
Says director Jackie Brocklesby, a renowned actor, director and producer in local amateur theatre: ‘What a joy to work on this gem! Inspired by the BBC’s recent production, we have been delighted to discover a work of genius. Christie’s writing is concise, the plot flawless and the characters are real people with complex, interesting lives. Christie wrote every detail of the script herself, including providing specific directions for the movement to ensure maximum suspicious activity and genuine culpability for guilty parties, to keep our audiences guessing “whodunit” till the very end!’
Written in 1939, And Then There Were None is widely praised as Agatha Christie’s masterpiece. It is certainly her most popular novel with over 100 million copies sold, making it the world’s best-selling murder mystery and seventh best-selling novel of all time. The play opened at the Wimbledon Theatre in 1943 before transferring to the St James Theatre, where it ran until the theatre was bombed in 1944. The most recent television adaptation, by the BBC in 2015, had an all-star cast that included Charles Dance, Miranda Richardson, Sam Neill, Toby Stephens and Aidan Turner. There have also been regular film adaptations (including Indian, Tamil and Russian versions), as well as it being produced for BBC Radio, video games and a board game.
Regent Rep received national acclaim when it reached the final of Sky Arts’ TV competition, ‘Nation’s Best Am Dram’ in 2012. The judges included Daily Mail theatre critic Quentin Letts, who called Regent Rep ‘fantastically inventive’, and West End impresario Bill Kenwright, who described the company as ‘quite extraordinary’. Regent Rep was founded in 2008 by John King and Eliot Walker and past productions include Jamaica Inn, The Crucible, Cold Comfort Farm, ’Allo ’Allo, Pride and Prejudice, Dad’s Army, An Inspector Calls, The Ladykillers and, last year, A Tale of Two Cities.
Tickets for And Then There Were None are £12.50 (concessions £10.50) and available from the Regent Centre Box Office tel: 01202 499199 or online at www.regentcentre.co.uk. The play runs for four performances from 19 to 21 October (including a Saturday matinée) and all proceeds go to the Regent Centre development fund.