Outsold only by the Bible and William Shakespeare, Agatha Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time.
And last night’s performance of The Mirror Crack’d once again proved the English author’s murder mysteries are as intriguing and entertaining as ever.
Dame Agatha Christie is known for writing 66 detective novels – often revolving around fictional detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple – as well as the world’s longest-running play The Mousetrap.
But before The Mousetrap travels to the north-east in June to celebrate its 70th anniversary, fans of detective shows have a unique chance to see another clever whodunit penned by the gifted author.
And with constant twists and turns, talented actors and an aesthetically pleasing set, The Mirror Crack’d really has it all.
Will Miss Marple solve the murder mystery?
The show – based on the 1962 book of the same name – follows Miss Marple as she uncovers a web of lies, tragedy and danger. She investigates the murder of a local woman who consumed a poisoned cocktail apparently meant for an American film actress…
Will Jane Marple – who’s confined to a wheelchair after spraining her ankle – be able to help the police solve the mystery before somebody else gets hurt? You will have to see The Mirror Crack’d at His Majesty’s to find out, but I can tell you now that Susie Blake is simply wonderful as Miss Marple.
The English actor, who you may know for playing Bev Unwin in Coronation Street, brought both tenderness and fantastic comedy timing to the well-known role which she previously described as “every actor’s dream over the age of 50”.
The Mirror Crack’d thrills Aberdeen audiences
When great detectives interview suspects, flashbacks tend to be used to play out the scenes being described. While this is easily achieved on TV and film, it’s particularly difficult to do well on stage.
And with The Mirror Crack’d sleuth Miss Marple spending most of the play in the safety of her home, it took a moment to get used to the scenes from the night of the murder being transported into her living room.
But as last night’s show proved, everything’s possible when you have a great cast.
Sophie Ward was fantastic as film star Marina Gregg whose life was endangered in the opening moments. She played the complex character beautifully – her emotional scenes with Miss Marple were a particular highlight of the show.
Holby City star and Strictly winner Joe McFadden also did a marvellous job portraying Marina’s film director husband Jason Rudd who quickly became the first suspect. While most wouldn’t necessarily expect to see a dance sequence in a whodunit, a very short waltz was cleverly woven into the party scene, to the delight of many Strictly fans in the audience.
Last stop on UK tour
Veronica Roberts’ Dolly Bantry and Oliver Boot’s inspector Craddock – sorry, chief inspector Craddock as he liked to remind everyone who’d listen – often stole the show with their warmth and humour.
The Mirror Crack’d, which was adapted by Rachel Wagstaff and directed by Philip Franks, also featured powerful themes of self-harm, depression, repressed homosexuality and grief – some of which weren’t given as much time as they deserved.
But overall, it was a thoroughly enjoyable and touching performance.
Aberdeen is the last stop on the show’s UK tour. Theatre fans can see The Mirror Crack’d is at HMT until Saturday March 4. Tickets are still available and can be purchased here.