Review: A Murder is Announced, Ecclesall Parish Hall

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Miss Marple makes her debut as the little sleuth in Agatha Christie’s classic whodunit.

It’s a convoluted plot where every character has a motive or two, there are red herrings galore and there are assumed identities left, right and centre. However it is expertly acted by all the cast and you have to admire Christie’s knack of misdirecting the audience like a skilled magician.

Meg Crook is excellently cast as the amateur detective who always seems one step ahead of Bill Darwin’s Inspector Craddock. She is exactly as one envisions Miss Marple in looks, stature and manner.

Ecclesall Theatre Company have taken a gamble by introducing no less than five new players in this thriller They all equip themselves marvellously however and prove to be fine new assets to the drama society.

Lola Panic is amusing as the Hungarian maid, Mitzi complete with cod East European accent and dry catchprase, “Thank you, you’re welcome” when introducing guests. Ashleigh Gray and James Travis impress as siblings Patrick and Julia. Lydia Harrison is on form as Phillipa Haynes, an unmarried mother, frowned upon at that time. Matthew Curr is good as a cynical young writer. Perish the thought!

Sue Preston directs this tour de force with aplomb. Even with the lights out for the pivotal murder scene, everything seems to somehow run like clockwork

David Smith and the team have produced an expert set, authentically depicting a Victorian house in the 1950s.