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Greenbelt Arts Center Witness For the Prosecution

By • May 3rd, 2007 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of Greenbelt Arts Center’s Witness For the Prosecution [MP3 5:08 1.5MB].

Laura: Saturday evening we saw Greenbelt Arts Center‘s Witness For the Prosecution in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Mike: Witness For The Prosecution is a play by Agatha Christie. The story revolves around a man accused of murder. Unfortunately his only alibi is his wife. She gets called by the prosecution to be a witness. This thriller will keep you guessing the entire way through.

Laura: This was a really good show. Agatha Christie does very interesting dramas. It kept me wondering throughout the whole performance kind of the whodunit. It had a pretty good twist at the end that I enjoyed very much.

Mike: This was a really good show. It had a nice pacing. The director Richard Atha-Nicholls did a good job with that. It was a fairly large cast. Lots of extras in the courtroom and the jury. It was very enjoyable. It pulled me in. Most thrillers don’t do that, but this thriller was pretty well done.

Laura: The role of Leonard Vole, the man accused of murder, was played by Steve Feder. He got better as the play went on. I could see in the beginning it felt like he was really tentative and you could see him thinking, “Ok, what’s my next line?” He played it a little bit hesitant, but as the play went on he did get better and kind of warmed up a little bit. During the courtroom scene he was just kind of sitting there with his head down. Actually a couple times I thought he was asleep. Then he would sort of look up, jump up, say his line, and then sit down gain. I wish he could have showed a little bit more emotion, but overall he did a pretty good job.

Mike: Sir Wilfred Roberts was played by Denis L. Latkowski. Sir Roberts is what we would call in the United States a defense counsellor. He was the one who actually argued the case before the judge. Whereas Leonard Vole’s regular lawyer (or counselor) Mr. Mayhew, played by Bill Brekke, simply sat next to the accused and every once in a while would offer him advice. He had a few scenes with Sir Roberts. That relationship worked really well. They seemed to be friendly with each other. I liked how Latkowski made the character very real. He had this air about him of I’m trying to help you regardless of what’s going on. It was a really interesting performance.

Laura: And Leonard Vole’s wife, Romaine, was played by Melissa B. Robinson. She did a very good job. We thought at first it was a Russian accent, but it turned out to be a German accent. She did a very good job with that. The whole performance she was very almost slinky and mysterious. She kind of kept everybody on their guard. They knew something was up with her, but they weren’t sure what.

Mike: There were only two sets in the show, Sir Robert’s office and the courtroom. They were very effective. I thought Sir Robert’s office was a little bland. It could have used a few more pictures and some more windows implied maybe. It was pretty simple with only a desk and a few chairs. The other set was the courtroom. That was more detailed because there were a lot more people in it. I did like both sets.

One awkward thing was switching between sets took a lot of time. This show had two intermissions. They were each ten minutes long. At the intermissions they would switch the sets back and forth. In the third act you had a another set change which took a good five/six minutes. It really killed the flow of the show right there. I wish they could have somehow used lighting or had the two sets separate on the stage. The Greenbelt Arts Center is an interesting shape. It’s a thrust stage with the audience is sitting on on three sides. The set was designed by Roger MacDonald.

Laura: Since this show did take place in England, you had a lot of British language. For example they talked about the victim’s estate being 85,000 pounds. I didn’t know how that would translate into American dollars. At another time Romaine talked about using a kosh. Mike talked to the director at intermission and found out that that was some sort of a blunt object. In the list of characters next to Sir Wilfred Roberts you had “Q.C.” We found out that that meant Queen’s Counselor which was like our version of defense or prosecuting attorney. Some of the language didn’t quite translate well. Overall it was a good show.

Mike: Witness For the Prosecution is playing through May 19th at the Greenbelt Community Arts Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM and Sundays at 2 PM. The show is very well acted. It is a bit long at 2 hours and 45 minutes with two short intermissions.

Laura: And now, God Save the Queen.

Cast

  • Greta: Heather Martin
  • Carter: Phil Braandis
  • Mr. Mayhew: Bill Brekke
  • Leonard Vole: Steve Feder
  • Sir Wilfred Roberts, Q.C.: Denis L. Latkowski
  • Inspector Hearne: Sandy Irving
  • Plain Clothes Detective: Glen Nelson
  • Romaine: Melissa B. Robinson
  • Second Juror: Linda Swan
  • Foreman of the Jury: David Nevin
  • Court Usher: Ron Nieman
  • Clerk of the Court: Phil Brandis
  • Mr. Myers Q.C.: Paul Boymel
  • Mr. Justice Wainwright: Jon Marget
  • Court Stenographer: Heather Martin
  • Warden: Glen Nelson
  • Policeman: David Weaver
  • Dr. Wyatt: Jeff Landou
  • Janet MacKenzie: Shirley Weaver
  • Mr. Clegg: Jeff Landou
  • The Other Woman: Heather Martin

Crew

  • Director: Richard Atha-Nicholls
  • Producers: David & Shirley Weaver
  • Stage Manager: Shirley Weaver
  • Set Designer: Roger MacDonald
  • Props: Richard Atha-Nicholls, David Weaver, Shirley Weaver
  • Set Construction: Richard Atha-Nicholls, Keith Brown, Donald Cook, Sandy Irving, Glen Nelson, Patrick Ready, Roger MacDonald, David Weaver, Jonathan Weaver, Shirley Weaver, Stephen Weaver, Rosalind White
  • Lighting Designer: Tom Zamer
  • Sound Designer: Richard Atha-Nicholls
  • Light/Sound Operator: Tom Zamer
  • Costumes: Linda Swann
  • Costume Consultant: Bryan Nicholls
  • Fight Choreography: Jamie Hanna
  • Makeup Effects: Roman Gusso
  • Program/Poster Design: Amy Ford
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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

2 Responses »

  1. I disagree with your comment about Steve Feder as Leonard Vole. I just saw the play on Sunday, and I think that he did an excellent job. He wasn’t sleeping, he was supposed to look depressed because he was on trial for murder.

  2. Hi Tyson, It could be simply the angle from where we were sitting made it look like he was asleep. Maybe we just happened to see him when he had his head hanging low, and it appeared he was sleeping. I agree that “depressed” would work really well for the part.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, we appreciate it. Mike