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Review: Witness for the Prosecution - the Play - by Agatha Christie

Review: Witness for the Prosecution - the Play - by Agatha Christie

Witness for the Prosecution, the latest in a run of Bill Kenwright presentations of Agatha Christie plays, is the story of a young man charged for the murder of an elderly lady, a lady whom had recently made a will leaving him a small fortune. With plenty of intrigue, suspense and a five-star cast, this production of Witness for the Prosecution is certainly a great play, but can it live up to its label of “undisputed masterpiece”?

Set entirely in and around a court room, Witness for the Prosecution cannot be described as an active play, in fact the characters rarely do more that stand up, deliver their line and then sit back down again. This presents a real challenge for the actors, as they are limited in their movements. The slow pace cause by the lack of activity is the plays only downfall, but the pure quality of the actors – headed up by the superb Denis Lill and Lisa Kay – more than makes up for it. Lill takes the role of barrister for the defendant, and acts as the main driving force of the play, moving the plot forward as well as giving the occasional piece of comic relief, whilst Kay plays the brilliantly melodramatic German wife of the defendant, who simultaneously acts as the main antagonist and the heroin of the piece

The plot, naturally as it is a Christie play, twists and turns, forever making you guess, and it is this, coupled with the occasional spark of humour that is so often apparent in her plays, that swurves Witness for the Prosecution away from being a mildly dull courtroom drama, into a lively and exciting play. The first half may go on for a little too long, but the second half, with its unexpected twists and fun, if a little over-the-top, final flourish, make for a truly enjoyable night at the theatre. Not the masterpiece the marketing campaign promised, but not a long way off.

Highly Recommended.

Posted Jul 12, 2010   

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