Culture

“And Then There Were None”: A chilling experience at Civic Theatre

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Story by Danata Paulino, Reporter
Photo courtesy of Civic Theatre

A hair-raising play that will keep you guessing “whodunnit” throughout, “And Then There Were None” was presented by the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre with elegance and chills. Agatha Christie’s plays are quite popular in the thriller world of theatre and are an important collection of works in the genre of murder mysteries.

The play takes place in 1939 on Shipwreck Island. A single mansion sits upon the rocks where ten guests have been summoned. Having still not met the masters of the house, the guests don’t understand the numerous pretenses that brought them together. After a daunting message, the guests realize they are connected by a single thread: Each is blamed for an act of murder.

While everyone is denying the charges and pointing accusations at one another, death strikes. This proves one thing: one of the ten is the killer. As the play continues, one by one the accused meet their fates in correspondence to a troubling poem about Tin Soldiers above the mantel. Bee stings, bear hugs, and other obscure lines takes the tale to the end when, as the poem goes: “And then there were none.”

The stage was set with an elegant single living scene. The lights and sound effects created a soft or bone-chilling impression. The set was wonderfully designed to give every audience member the perfect view of the crime scene. The many doors on set gave way to an entrancing game of cat and mouse. The music that accompanied the show was beautifully haunting and gave audience members spine-tingling sensations.

Many Civic Theatre veterans graced the stage with their talents for this murderous tale. David Cobb did an excellent job with his dry-humored and ambitious portrayal as the egotistic Captain Lombard. Scott Wright, as William Blore, delivered many humorous lines, which lightened the mood of the dark script. Kristin and Spencer Tomlin played the roles of husband and wife so well that their characters, Ethel and Tom Rogers, seemed in love and, at the same time, troubled as any married couple. Newbies Hannah Harrison and Alex Weiss displayed talents that shined brightly with youth and the intuition of expectedly growing careers on this stage.

Each actor and actress had a strong grasp on the British articulations that accompanied the English storyline. Although the slow pace of the line deliverance and plot progression seemed purposeful to add tension, there were moments when monologues tended to slow the pace of the already crawling plotline. As for overall play quality, it was a well-done theatre production which served as an entertaining and enthralling escape from the common worries of the day, making you think about others’ perceptions of your own misdeeds.

“And Then There Were None” ran for three weekend in January. Their next production, “Mamma Mia!” will run from February 22 – March 17.

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