Agatha Christie & Frank Vosper
Where and When
20th – 22nd October 2022 @ The Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne
Cecily Harrington has led a staid and proper existence. After winning a large amount of money in a sweepstake she desperately yearns for a life of adventure. Enter Bruce Lovell, a handsome and charming stranger who sweeps her off her feet. In a whirlwind romance, she recklessly abandons her job, friends and fiancé to settle in the remote and blissful surroundings of a country cottage. However, her newfound “love from a stranger” is not what it seems and in an astonishingly tense final scene, Cecily discovers the ghastly truth of her new love.
An intense and chilling psychological thriller which examines the sadistic mind of a serial killer and the extremes to which the power of suggestion can be pushed.
- Auntie Loo-Loo – Jenny Hughes
- Mavis Wilson – Lindsay McGowan
- Cecily Harrington – Tracey Nicholls
- Bruce Lovell – Richard Cawte
- Nigel Lawrence – Tony Feltham
- Hodgson – Russ Guillaume
- Ethel – Rossie Nye
- Dr Gribble – Chris Durham
- Director – Rob Cording-Cook
- Assistant Director and Stage Manager – Michelle Barter
- ASMs and Properties – Judy Garrett and Dee Hawes
- Set Design and Construction – Michelle Barter, Dave barter, Nick Clark, Chris Durham and Colin Pile
- Costume Supervisor* – Kelly Webb
- Book Cover – Jan Stevenson
- Sound – David Beddard-Banks
- Stage Crew – Suzanne Viney and Gary Paine
- Publicity and Programme – Richard Neal
- Artwork – Eloise Perry
For the Tivoli Theatre
- Technical and Production Manager – Kyle Best
- Head of Sound – Chandler Whitelock
- Assitant Stage Manager – Fabien Barrow-Blanken
*Costumes supplied by Hierarchy Costumes
Jeremy Mills – Scene One
How marvellous to see so many people in the main auditorium at the Tivoli Theatre in Wimborne on a Friday night! There seemed barely to be a free seat in the house and I felt honoured to have one! This is testament to the draw of the Tivoili generally, but also to the clear fondness of and audience loyalty to Wimborne Drama Productions.
WDP are back on familiar territory with an Agatha Christie short story adaptation. This is not a classic Christie whodunnit by any means. It is promoted as a psychological thriller and that it certainly is. Cecily (Tracey Nicholls), having won a significant sum of money, is reassessing her life and her relationships, when in enters a complete stranger, Bruce (Richard Cawte). Bruce wishes to rent the London flat she owns and shares with Mavis (Lindsay McGowan) with whom she split the prize money. Bruce sweeps Cecily off her feet and Cecily’s life takes a major and more sinister turn…
I want to mention the backstage contributions first as the backstage crew are often not given the credit they deserve. The set, costumes and props were great and seemed perfectly in period and appropriate. One gripe I often have, especially with period pieces, is the lack of attention to the floor. It is a shame to rely on the bare stage when a few rugs would not only be in keeping but would assist in making the sets feel more homely.
The lighting is very good and well considered. A special word must go to the sound crew. The music interludes work well and the sound effects, particularly in the psychotic episodes are very effective. A grateful nod is due to the programme, again often overlooked. It is nicely presented and informative with some relevant and interesting pieces in it.
The play is dominated by Tracey and Richard who have significant stage time and interesting character development opportunities. They work well together and establish a convincing storyline. I felt that Tracey at times did not seem completely at ease in her character, which detracted from some of the more intense moments. Also, Tracey found herself too often having to present lines upstage, which can be easily remedied. Richard gives a well observed performance with a nicely nuanced character development and I think is excellent in the part.
The supporting cast are very strong. Good leads can be let down by poor performances by the supporting actors, but this is certainly not the case here. Although it is a shame to pick out individuals, a special mention should go to Auntie Loo-Loo (Jenny Hughes) and Nigel Lawrence (Tony Feltham). Auntie Loo-Loo is a very nice scene stealing character played beautifully by Jenny. Nigel is a difficult part, which Tony makes his own with a sincere and sensitive performance.
The second night of a show can always be ‘tricky’. There is not the buzz of a first night backstage and there can be a danger of complacency and a lack of sharpness. I did not perceive any of these issues. The pace was well maintained. Some scenes a little too static at times, which would have been a bigger distraction if the pace dropped. So, congratulations to the director, Rob Cording-Cook, for providing us with a very solid and ultimately gripping play.
Overall, a very enjoyable evening and I would urge anyone at a loose end on Saturday 22 October to try and get a ticket for one of the last two performances.
Marilyn Barber – Dorset View
Based on one of Agatha Christie’s short stories, this play doesn’t at first seem to fit in with the genre we have come to expect from the world’s best-selling author of all time – until the story progresses.
It then becomes clear that this is a psychological thriller as clues are subtly dropped.
Tracey Nicholls never disappoints in her roles and she runs the gamut of emotions as Cecily Harrington, due to be married to Nigel after a five-year engagement.
However, Cecily, who has won a huge amount of money, wants the excitement of travel, and fears settling down.
Enter Bruce (Richard Cawte) who agrees in a split second to rent her flat, and within half an hour appears to have fallen in love with her.
What could possibly go wrong?
Richard gives a mesmerising performance with subtle body language and facial expressions. Such a charming man!
The role of the jilted Nigel is in the safe hands of Tony Feltham, who this time has to be calm and reflective, whilst Lindsay McGowan puts in a striking performance as Cecily’s friend Mavis.
I’m sure she won’t mind me saying this but Jenny Hughes – who has also been a regular on the stage in Broadstone and Ferndown – always captures the essence of the eccentric. And once again she excels as Auntie Loo-Loo.
Chris Durham doesn’t have a huge role as Dr Gribble, but this actor seems to dominate every scene he is in, as he is so convincing.
Russ Guillaume encapsulates the role of the slightly slow witted, but steady gardener Hodgson, as does Rosie Nye as the maid Ethel.
Accolades must go to Rob Cording-Cook as the director and Michelle Barter as his assistant and stage manager, as well as members of the company for such a brilliant set design.
On the first night the theatre was pretty full, but if you’re lucky you might manage to get a ticket for tonight at 7.30pm or Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.