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Thunderous Productions And Then There Were None

By • May 27th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Thunderous Productions
Greenbelt Community Arts Center, Greenbelt, MD
Through May 29th
2:20 with two intermissions
$15/$12 Senior/Students
Reviewed May 26th, 2011

And Then There Were None is a classic Agatha Christie production. Ten supposed “strangers” are trapped on a remote island together. It appears they have nothing in common, but as the number of bodies add up, past secrets and connections surface.

As we attended opening night, the first time performing in front of a live audience may have attributed to some of the line hiccups and dramatic pauses we observed. The pacing seemed very slow and did not allow all the actors to fully develop their characters and give more emotion to their parts. The English accents were at times difficult to understand.

Detective Wilhelmina Blore (played by Celeste Campbell) was able to allow her character to grow and develop during the evening. Starting out as the outspoken reggae vacationer she provided a touch of comic relief until her cover was blown and then it was all down to business. Campbell came across as no nonsense and methodical. Emily Brent (played by Aurelia Spencer) used her cane well and carried herself like an old lady, although she was a bit spry when sitting or rising from her chair. By taking her time and seeming to even struggle a bit would have made her character more realistic. Psychiatrist Dr. Armstrong (played by Ronda Ansted) was fairly animated and did become pretty emotional as the evening wore on. Philip Lombard (played by Bryan Morton) was pretty spunky as the jokester of the group. That and his obvious interest in Vera Claythorne (Rachel Duda) gave his character purpose.

There were a few technical aspects to the show that seemed to interrupt the production’s flow. The spike marks for the furniture would have been less distracting if they were spiked in the back and not the front. In the first act, Thelma the maid seemed very self conscious of her skirt and kept pulling it down whenever she sat down. Perhaps there was a costume problem of some kind as in later acts she was not pulling on her skirt. There was also one scene where a character broke the fourth wall and sat and chatted with the audience. It was also disappointing that the Indian figurines didn’t disappear during the scenes, but only during blackouts between scenes.

Lighting designer Tommy Zanner kept the transitions smooth and effective, although the lights at the end of each scene should have gone to black more quickly. Sound designer Beatrix Whitehall’s waves and rainstorm were convincing. They were clear yet soft enough to not be distracting, and made for a pleasant background noise.

Cast

  • Ethel Rogers: Melanie Hall
  • Frieda Narracott: Liza Koonin
  • Thelma Rogers: Jennifer Murphy
  • Vera Claythorne: Rachel Duda
  • Phillip Lombard: Bryan Morton
  • Antoinette Marsten: Becca Burton
  • Wilhelmina Blore: Celeste Campbell
  • General MacKenzie: Paul Boymel
  • Emily Brent: Aurelia Spencer
  • Judge Wargrave: Beatrix Whitehall
  • Doctor Armstrong: Ronda Ansted
  • Voice of Doom: John Ward

Crew

  • Director: Rick Starkweather
  • Assistant Director: Becca Burton
  • Stage Crew: Kathleen Mil, Mike Thompson
  • Lighting Designer/Technician: Tommy Zanner
  • Sound Technician: Jeff Robert
  • Sound Design: Beatrix Whitehall
  • Set Construction: Bryan Morton
  • Costumes/Props: Heather Martin & Becca Burton
  • Producers: Beatrix Whitehall & Heather Martin
  • Associate Producers: Celeste Campbell & Jeff Robert

Disclaimer: Thunderous Productions provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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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. You mentioned a scene where a character broke the fourth wall and chatted with the audience. Are there times when this is acceptable, or is it pretty much “verboten?”

    Thank you.

  2. Hi Mike,

    Of course there are times where it is ok, such as when it is explicitly written into a script, or an improv show, or a one person show that is a narrative more than a play. But generally in a scripted play or musical, the cast should not be directly interacting with their audience. Yes, they should allow for laughter or other responses (gasp!) from the audience, but to directly interact with an audience member (to sit down with them and talk about what happened, or to mug to the audience) in the middle of a scene is usually not going to be acceptable.

    A couple shows where it is scripted where a character can interact with the audience would be The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged), or the narrator in Into the Woods, or Nunsense. Mike