Theatre Review: Go Back For Murder

Go Back For Murder was adapted for the stage by Agatha Christie from the hugely successful novel Five Little Pigs, in which Hercule Poirot was the main character. In adapting the play, Christie changed the title and dropped Poirot completely from the story, replacing him with Justin Fogg, the handsome young lawyer.

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Presented by Therry Dramatic Society
Reviewed 7th February 2019

Go Back For Murder was adapted for the stage by Agatha Christie from the hugely successful novel Five Little Pigs, in which Hercule Poirot was the main character. In adapting the play, Christie changed the title and dropped Poirot completely from the story, replacing him with Justin Fogg, the handsome young lawyer. An odd choice, one might think. But as Christie herself confessed she never warmed to the character of Poirot, and for the purposes of the play Fogg is part of a much more satisfying resolution to the story – no, you’ll have to go to see it.

Norm Caddick has assembled a fine group of Adelaide actors who have a real gift for story-telling, and the first night audience were clearly caught up in the thrill of the ride. It’s a clever story very well told. Simon Lancione is in fine form, and his crisp British solicitor (Justin Fogg) is a credit to Lancione’s skill. He drives the story relentlessly forward, and his second act narrative is a gift to the play’s momentum, giving the other actors a clear and defined pathway to an elegant conclusion.

Chanelle Le Roux was at home in the double roles of Carla Le Marchant and Caroline Crale. Clear, efficient story-telling coupled with a real connection to her task as an actor gave Le Roux the opportunity to shine in this difficult dual role, though her British accent could do with a little more articulation; I lost some of the words in the second half. We had become so used to her Canadian accent that her British accent demanded a new way of listening from us which unfortunately got lost in the delivery at the beginning of the second half.

Zanny Edhouse as Elsa, Lady Markham is proving herself to be a very capable and versatile actor. It is really good to see her developing some weight and grace. It is always difficult to span 16 years in a performance, especially when you have to leap 16 years in a quick change; really good work. But that must also be said for all the rest of the cast who had this demand put on their resources. Really impressive work. Heather Riley managed a very convincing portrayal as Miss Williams. I was particularly impressed with her last 16 year character change; she aged before my very eyes. Lani Gerbi as Angela Warren seemed to have more than a passing resemblance to Miss Casewell from The Mousetrap after her trip to a swiss boarding school. I’m not sure if this was meant to be a warning for the uninformed, but it was a strange choice, particularly as Angela’s character has the most demanding change from adult to petulant teenager.

Steven Bills, in another self-confessed portrayal as an Englishman, brought a great lift to the second half of the piece – a resonant, spiky artist in the throes of falling in love with the subject of another of his portraits. Bills’ ability to change mood at the drop of a hat really kept an attentive audience on its toes.

Thomas Filsell gave a brief but engaging performance as Jeff Rogers, with clean delivery and some good comic timing. Jeff Baker’s Turnball was endearing and slightly goofy, perfect for the character. Ron Densley as Phillip Blake settled into a very solid performance and Graham Lamonby as Meredith  Blake gave us a really flaky character, the perfect foil for his anal-retentive brother.

Nick Spottiswoode’s set and Richard Parkhill’s lighting gave the actors a lively and interesting playpen to work in. And, as always, the cast were supported by a well-honed back-stage team led by Ray Trowbridge. The costumes were a credit to Gilian Cordell and that crew of dressers earned their drink at the bar.

I sat amongst an audience thoroughly enjoying a very good, well-cast, engaging Agatha Christie. She still has the ability to keep us on the edge of our seats guessing. Well done, Norm Caddick, and well done, Therry. Give ‘em what they want and they’ll keep coming back for more.

Reviewed by Adrian Barnes

Disclaimer: Simon Lancione is an Arts reviewer for Glam

Venue: The Arts Theatre

Season: 7th – 16th February 2019

Duration:  2 hours 30 minutes incl.  interval.

Tickets:  Concession: $24.00, Adult: $29.00

Bookings: trybookings.com (24/7)  / 8410 5515 (from 12 noon ‘til late Mon-Sat)

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