‘A Murder is Announced’ (Edinburgh King’s Theatre) | Review by Stacey Brown

A Murder is Announced- A Miss Marple Mystery has all the charm of a classic ‘whodunnit’ that has you guessing throughout.

The story of course is brilliant.

After an announcement in the Gazette predicts a Murder at Letitia Blacklock’s house, she and her group of family and friends are anxious to see what might happen. When a shoot out does occur in the house, it’s up to Miss Marple and Inspector Craddock to find out what really happened.

If you go to see a play adapted from Agatha Christie, you know you’re in for a storytelling treat. That moment where everything ties together in a bow is delicious!

But if we start at the beginning, it’s a slow burner.

The performance starts with a lot of exposition. Of course that is to be expected as we have a lot to unpack about these characters before we begin to investigate them- but it was bit overwhelming. You’re a bit confused over the amount of seen and unseen characters they’re introducing and explaining in such a small space of time before the murder occurs.

I suppose this is a common trait of plays adapted from novels. What a novelist can fit in a chapter, it would take about 4 hours to show on stage.

Overall though, Leslie Darbon who adapted it for the stage did a fantastic job as we were constantly trying to guess the murderer and were immersed into the story, the same way you would be at watching it on the TV or getting lost in Agatha Christie’s books.

The set was absolutely gorgeous. It’s a cliche to say but it felt like you were placed right onto a Cluedo board. The stage was full with personal trinkets and furniture that had you guessing throughout, “is that a clue?”. Nowadays, I think theatre has ventured away from detailed set. It felt nostalgic to see a complete living room come to life at the theatre.

The actors also brought the story to life.

To be honest, the accents of the actors were quite jarring to begin with. It felt a bit pantomimey and “la di da”, but that could be because I’m not used to that sort of performance. Once I got over that, I really appreciated the acting.

Of course Miss Marple played by Sarah Thomas was great. She captured that nosey yet kind charm we love about the classic character.

Lydia Piechowiak as Mitzi was an audience favourite. She was a great comic relief and had everyone chuckling even through tense moments.

Some stand outs for me were Tom Butchers as Inspector Craddock Barbara Wilshere as Letitia Blacklock. Butcher was another character that brought that comedic timing- not as much as Piechowiak but in a more subtle way. Wilshere was also fantastic as she played the unassuming, matriarch of the family so well that it made it all the more special at the end.

Michael Lunney did an excellent job of directing!

Even if you’ve never gotten in to an Agatha Christie story, you’ll love A Murder Announced. It’s a slow burner to begin with and the information can be a bit overwhelming, but after that it’s a fantastic “whodunnit” which has you questioning everyone, sleuthing for clues and that ‘aha’ moment will leave you feeling satisfied.

A Murder is Announced- A Miss Marple Mystery plays at the Kings Theatre until Saturday 7th of May. https://www.capitaltheatres.com/whats-on/a-murder-is-announced


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