I can’t count the number of reworkings of Agatha Christie I have seen. From BBC dramas to student productions, we seem to have an undying fascination with a good murder mystery. Maybe it is the satisfaction you feel when you work out who did it before the end, or maybe it is the familiar safety of a period drama. Either way, when I came to direct ‘A Murder is Announced’, I had to think of something new.
This was a harder task than first imagined. With the grandeur of the Great Hall as our venue, the stage seemed set for a cosy recollection of Agatha Christie past: a bumbling, elderly Miss Marple set amongst a cast of stock characters would have been the easy, safe option. But the rest of the production team and I were keen to do something different with this show, and that started with Miss Marple. Changing Agatha Christie might seem blasphemous for some and I can’t help but feel a little anxious myself when I tell people that we are giving the well-loved story some tweaks. For me, Marple’s character is based around her shrewd intellect. When you strip away the comic aspects of the character, traditionally defined by her age and ‘busybody-ness’, you are left with a woman driven by her curiosity who refuses to be defined by societal standards. That sounded more like something I would be interested in watching, and I hope you feel the same.
‘A Murder is Announced’ is one of Agatha Christie’s more intriguing mysteries, with the murder advertised in the village paper before it takes place. Working with the cast and crew has been a real joy, as we have tried to do justice to the original story whilst bringing our own spin to it. It has been a collaborative process from the start and is something of which we are all immensely proud. I hope you enjoy the show as much as I have enjoyed directing it.
‘A Murder is Announced’ will be performed this Saturday and Sunday (3rd and 4th February) in Castle Great Hall. Doors open at 8pm and we invite you to grab a drink in the Undercroft bar before entering the hall via the black stairs. The dress code is black tie and you can buy tickets here: http://durhamstudenttheatre.savoysystems.co.uk/DurhamStudentTheatre.dll/TSelectItems.waSelectItemsPrompt.TcsWebMenuItem_0.TcsWebTab_0.TcsProgramme_408258