Little Theatre of Virginia Beach and director Jeffrey Seneca’s production of “And Then There Were None” is a moody and dark rendition of Christie’s masterpiece.
The play’s plot revolves around ten visiting strangers, including a cook and a butler, to Soldier Island — all invited by the mysterious Mr. U.N. Own. All are led to believe that they have been invited to a weekend party at the remote island. But then a disembodied voice charges each with causing a death at sometime during their lives.
It appears that Mr. U.N. Own is nowhere to be found on the island, and as the victims continue to meet their gruesome fates, the survivors begin to suspect each other. Each are then dispatched one by one based on a nursery counting rhyme.
Then it’s down to the remaining two, then one — or is it? The killer will come as a surprise to those who are unfamiliar with the novel.
Jeffrey Seneca’s direction with this play suggests a commanding knowledge of Christie’s work and of theatrical staging. Each character had an opportunity to shine and I could see that Mr Seneca gave careful thought as to the best stage positioning for each actor.
All of the actors maintained a very credible English accent. LTVB is fortunate to have an obviously expert dialect coach with Alan L.C. Campbell. The ensemble included Anthony Fotinos and Lynn Rollins as the married butler and cook, Wade Brinkley as a nervous nerve specialist named Dr. Armstrong, and Karen Buchheim as imperious spinster Miss Brent. Robin Chapman is pompous General MacKenzie, Scott Rollins plays hard-nosed Detective Blore, Jordan Tewari is spoiled playboy Anthony, and Tom O’Reilly plays urbane Justice Wargrave. Steven Meeks as adventurer/ladies’ man Captain Lombard and Felicia Fields as Vera, a pretty young secretary, pair up as the play’s romantic interest. Mike Dunavan appears in the small role of a deliveryman.
The set design and lighting by Michael Hilton were both beautiful and functional. I marveled at what appeared to be period correct furniture and prop pieces. The lighting clearly highlighted the characters’ features and helped set the proper mood for each scene. Costumes by Kay Burcher fit the time period and, especially with Felicia Field’s Vera, were eye-popping.
For me there were three standouts and one great scene stealing performance. Scott Rollins was clearly at ease as Detective Blore and he demonstrated how to react in the moment as an actor. Anthony Fotinos as Thomas Rogers appeared as a very authentic English butler. Jordan Tewari as the playboy Anthony Marston, despite having a small part, ate up any scene when he was on stage. Robin Chapman as General Mackenzie had a monologue late in the play that was very powerful and moving.
The play’s running time was approximately three hours — and it struck as a bit too long. I think there are opportunities for cutting the play’s down to a more manageable 2 ½ hours or less. May I suggest increasing the energy level at the beginning of the play and with quicker line delivery. I also wasn’t quite sold on the romantic chemistry between Vera and Captain Lombard.
Overall, Little Theatre of Virginia Beach should be very proud of “And Then There Were None.” When I attended on Saturday, January 20 they had a sold out performance. The audience clearly enjoyed the performance and several comical quips. I therefore I give “And Then There Were None” a Big Thumbs Up! GO SEE IT!
Little Theatre of Virginia Beach “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie through special arrangement with Agatha Christie through special arrangement with Samuel L French, Inc. Performances takes place at Little Theatre of Virginia Beach, on January 9 – February 11. Get more info, prices, and purchase tickets here or by calling 757-428-9233
Special Thanks to Lauren Moylan for assisting me with this review.