An unusual man invites the head of Scotland Yard, a crime writer and an MI5 agent to a dinner party to show off his unique collection. This is the premise of Agatha Christie’s Cards on the Table, according to Director Lucy Concannon, one of her most cleverly-crafted mysteries. But the peculiar Mr Saitana doesn’t just collect snuffboxes, he collects the perfect criminals: a group of dinner guests who have all committed murder and gotten away with it.
Unfortunately for Saitana, he falls victim to his own little game and winds up being killed. The Collingwood Woodplayers have done an excellent job of suspending disbelief and ensuring that it is very difficult to pinpoint the identity of the murderer.
The Woodplayers have further adapted an existing adaptation of Cards on the Table for the theatre. The original adaptation, written in Christie’s lifetime, had to be adjusted to remove the infamous character of Hercule Poirot because Christie didn’t believe anyone would be able to do justice to the Belgian detective.
Despite a minimal set, the production maintains many period details such as an authentic 1930s typewriter, vintage telephones, and period costumes. The cast even learned roughly how to play the famously complicated game of bridge to make the playing scenes authentic. The card game is significant in that Ariadne Oliver, the crime writer, believes that the moves of the game will give insight into which the guilty party is.
The Collingwood Dining Hall feels very wintry and cosy while occupied by set of Cards on the Table. The Woodplayers’ production promises to be a lovely way to spend a winter’s evening, full of unintentional humour, exemplary performances and above all, intrigue. Look out in particular for Sian Green as Ariadne Oliver and Gareth Davies as the charmingly eccentric Mr Saitana. Collingwood’s Cards on the Table is bound to be a treat for all.
Cards on the Table opens tonight at 7:30 at Collingwood Dining Hall and is playing until December 7th. Tickets are available on the door.