Pictured: The Ensemble of AND THEN THERE WERE NONE. Photo by Brian Paulette.
By Abigail Trabue
I’ll be honest, I’ve been failed time and time again by mystery and horror on stage, to the point where my assumption was just that it can’t work. It’s great to realize how wrong I was – it just takes an incredible script, a knockout cast, a jewel-box design, and a perfectionist director. Simple right?
Kansas City Actors Theatre’s production of Agatha Christie’s AND THEN THERE WERE NONE is an intellectual adrenaline rush unlike any I’ve felt in the theater before. Over two and a half hours of non-stop edge-of-your-seat suspense peppered with biting humor in a masterpiece of murder-mystery by the mistress herself.
I’ve seen hours and hours of Poirot and Sherlock and Matlock and Columbo, but nothing compares to live actors having the ability to jab the nuances required to pull off a murder mystery in your face, especially one with such a complicated construct as this.
10 guests arrive at an unoccupied island for a weekend getaway upon the request of an unknown benefactor. Each has a murderous past, as is disclosed when we discover there is no way off the island, there is no host, and there is a nursery rhyme (Ten Little Soldiers) on the wall that will describe their demise as a murderer picks them off one by one. There is no other person on the island, so the murderer must be one of our guests.
The cast of John Rensenhouse’s production is superb, each and every one. It’s a textbook ensemble piece, and from the smallest parts to the biggest (those that avoid death the longest), everyone turns in a solid performance. The design team fires on all cylinders — Mark Exline’s elegant set and Jonathan Robertson’s haunting sound design are particularly notable.
Whether you know the outcome of the piece or not, this one will keep you wondering — even if it’s only how they keep making statues disappear in front of your eyes.
Kansas City Actors Theater has turned in a stellar night of theater with AND THEN THERE WERE NONE. Get your tickets and get there early. Sit up close and be thrilled.
AND THEN THERE WERE NONE runs through Aug 27th. For more information visit kcactors.org.