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The Hollow

by Agatha Christie
15-18 October 2003

Sir Henry Angkatell
Joe Brooks
Lady Lucy Angkatell
Jan Stevenson
Henrietta Angkatell
Boo Feltham
Midge Harvey
Jean Dishington
Edward Angkatell
Mark Ellen
Dr John Cristow
Tony Feltham
Gerda Cristow
Carolyn Hewitt
Veronica Craye
Yvonne Henley
Simon Jackson
Clare Downs

Inspector Colquhoun
Jeremy Austin
Sergeant Penny
Russ Guillaume

Paul Dodman
Jackson Kingham

PERHAPS it's the fact that Agatha Christie's plays, and the lifestyle they represent, seem somewhat dated today.
But, whatever the reason, this production seemed to take an awfully long time to get into its stride and it wasn't until well into the second half that it really gained the necessary pace.
On the plus side, the country house set was outstanding and there were some first-class characterisations in this typical whodunnit. Jean Dishington's portrayal of young dress shop assistant Midge Harvey really came from the heart and was utterly believable, while Jan Stevenson was amusingly eccentric as Lady Lucy Angkatell.
Other highlights were, for me, the semi-comic performances of Jeremy Austin as the bemusedly resigned Inspector Colquhoun; Simon Jackson (Gudgeon, the butler); and Clare Downs (Doris, the maid).
Despite the slow start the suspense built up well as red herrings galore confused the would-be sleuths in the audience. It was pretty easy to spot the victim - but the murderer? Well, true to form, I didn't have a clue.

Linda Kirkman, Daily Echo

Doris (Clare Downs)
Penny (Russ Guillaume)

WITH murder mystery games now part of many a social gathering, the staging of an Agatha Christie play is a good recipe for ensuring a good house.
Paul Dodman directed Wimborne Drama's presentation of The Hollow, a classic whodunnit, with all the ingredients we have come to expect from Christie such as a country house, a dysfunctional family and lots of red herrings.
The action was set at the home of Sir Henry Angkatell, played by Joe Brooks, and Lady Lucy Angkatell, portrayed by Jan Stevenson.
Joe, who is one of the stalwarts of Wimborne Drama, has appeared in more than 50 plays with the group. Although he was well cast, it is a substantial part, and personally I prefer him in more of a character role, such as in Far from the Madding Crowd, when he played Joseph Poorgrass with such aplomb.
On the other hand, Jan Stevenson often has smaller roles, and it was good to see her in a major part, which gave her the chance to display her comedic skills. She certainly had the best lines, which she delivered, skilfully.
I enjoyed Tony Feltham's performance as the womanising Dr John Cristow, but unfortunately, it soon became clear that he wouldn't make it to the second half. His death scene was quite a performance. His compliant wife Gerda, played by Carolyn Hewitt, seemed the most likely suspect, but we were left guessing to the end.
Simon Jackson is almost born to play a servant as he can be deliciously obsequious, and I wanted to shout out "the butler did it". But he didn't.
Similarly, Jeremy Austin is your archetypal, laid back police officer. He took the title role in An Inspector Calls last year, and Inspector Colquhoun in The Hollow. Well done also to the other players Boo Feltham, Jean Dishington, Mark Ellen, Yvonne Henley, Clare Downs and Russ Guillaume.
And full marks too for the brilliant stage design.

Marilyn Ayres, The Community Magazine

Veronica Craye (Yvonne Henley)
Midge (Jean Dishington), Sir Henry (Joe Brooks), Edward (Mark Ellen) and John Cristow (Tony Feltham)
Lady Lucy (Jan Stevenson)
Gerda Cristow (Carolyn Hewitt) Midge (Jean Dishington) and John Cristow (Tony Feltham)
"He's dead!"
Colquhoun (Jeremy Austin) and Gudgeon (Simon Jackson)


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