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Review: 'And Then There Were None' at the Glendale Centre Theatre

It's cozy, familiar, pleasant

October 26, 2012|By Lynne Heffley
  • Lydia Woods as "Vera Claythorne"; Thor Edgell as "Philip Lombard"; and Paul Nieman as "Sir Lawrence Wargrave" in the Glendale Centre Theatre's production of Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None."
Lydia Woods as "Vera Claythorne"; Thor Edgell… (Photo by Tim Dietlein )

Entering the Glendale Centre Theatre feels like a cozy step back in time. Visitors are greeted by memorabilia from the theater's 65-year history, furnishings from the past and a casual familial warmth later underscored by Executive Producer Tim Dietlein's pre-show banter with the audience.

The family ambience of this 430-seat theater-in-the-round, with its cheery red upholstered seats and warm wood paneling, isn't anything new. Dietlein's grandparents founded the theater in 1947 and Dietlein, who runs the operation with his wife Brenda, grew up in it.

It isn't surprising, then, that comfortable, familiar entertainment is a specialty of the house. The theater's current production, Agatha Christie's enormously successful bestseller, “And Then There Were None,” which she adapted for the stage, fits the bill nicely.

Appropriate to the season, if not particularly chilling here, the 1930s-era sleight-of-hand murder mystery is given a pleasant period staging by director Diedra Celeste Miranda, while her capable ensemble of actors does enjoyable justice to Christie's signature suspects: the ingénue and suave adventurer, the retired military officer, disapproving prude, reckless playboy, uncouth police officer, medical man, respected judge and two servants.

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Resident costume designer Angela Wood nails each individual look with an array of character-inspired gowns and suits for day and evening.

The plot: Ten strangers, including a cook and butler, arrive for what they believe to be a recreational weekend house party at an estate on a remote island, hosted by a mysterious Mr. U. N. Own. All 10, it turns out, have been suspected of causing a death at some point in their lives. Accusing them via phonograph record of having escaped justice, their unseen host has appointed himself executioner and begins dispatching the guests one by one, using various methods suggested by an antiquated nursery counting rhyme.

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.

Then it's down to the remaining two, then one — or is it? The twist ending will come as a surprise only to those who haven't read the book over its decades of continuous publication, or who haven't caught at least one of its numerous stage and film adaptations.

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