by Agatha Christie
15-18 October 2003
Lady Lucy Angkatell
Dr John Cristow
it's the fact that Agatha Christie's plays, and the lifestyle they represent,
seem somewhat dated today.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Kirkman, Daily Echo
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
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.
Ayres, The Community Magazine