Sunday, 22 April 2018

It's no secret that this very modern Christie deserves to be a hit

What's this, tinkering with the sainted Agatha Christie? Making it funny? In fact very very funny! What does the Watermill think it's doing?

What's this, tinkering with the sainted Agatha Christie? Making it funny? In fact very very funny! What does the Watermill think it's doing?

Well, they know a thing or two at the Watermill so they're probably thinking their very modern take on Saint Agatha's

The Secret Adversary
will be a surefire hit. It certainly should be: it's hilarious, fast, energetic and ironic.

There's hardly a theatrical trick missed in this whirlwind of a show, which takes Christie's earliest work and turns it into full-scale entertainment.



I wonâ??t bother you with the plot, it doesnâ??t matter, itâ??s just a vehicle for the cascade of action, music and occasional slapstick which ensues.

This was the story which introduced the world to the characters Tommy and Tuppence, two upper middle class â?? what else â?? adventurers looking for excitement and cash. In fact the plot is just a little naive for us in 2015, it owes much to Buchanâ??s

39 Steps
and if youâ??re bothered you can work out fairly quickly who the villain will be.

Itâ??s the treatment that is such a treat. Weâ??re invited to look back nearly a century to a time when morals and behaviour were very different and this is portrayed knowingly through the characters.

The structure and design of the work allow for no let-up: slapstick moves straight to a music sequence, to a confrontation, then a threat, then fast movement using a car and all of it gently or violently taking the Micky as it progresses.

The top notch cast of seven combine music and acting abilities to invest the normally thin Christie characters with more than two dimensions â?? special mention to the two leads Emerald Oâ??Hanrahan and Garmon Rhys and to Morgan Philpott who played several characters, did some conjuring tricks, played a banjolele and frequently stole the show.

Much of this production â?? which surely must do a national tour after its run at the Watermill â?? is informed by the Jeeves and Wooster play currently on tour, and the spoofed-up

39 Step
s of a couple of years ago.

Itâ??s a riotous two hours and should lift the deepest of glooms â?? although perhaps ten minutes could be trimmed from the first act.

One more thing: Emerald Oâ??Hanrahan also plays Emma Grundy in

The Archers.
Thatâ??s a big deal for some of us.

Mike Rowbottom





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