Theater

And Then There Were None

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The Northwest Classical Theatre Company (NWCTC) specializes in chestnuts, in "classic works by great authors," produced "with an emphasis on the authors' own writing and not the directors' concept," according to their website. In the case of NWCTC's current staging of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, this means that the tidy little melodrama boasts all the requisite Christie-components: dry British wit, an elaborate whodunit scheme, and mustachioed stiff upper lips.

Seemingly one of the most frequently produced plays of all time, And Then There Were None is a favorite of high schools and community theaters everywhere. It's easy to understand why: The cast is full of quirky characters, the dialogue is snappy and full of cute Britishisms, ("het up", etc.), and the plot, of course, is a classic. Ten men and women are assembled on a deserted island, presented with a list of their "crimes" (all stand accused of murder), and then they are killed, one by one. The creepy catch is that each death corresponds to a line in the children's rhyme "10 Little Indians." Throw in a bait-and-switch ending and a little romantic subplot, and you've got yourself a quaint, crowd-pleasing thriller.

As a whole, NWCTC does a great job with this production. The ensemble ranges from solid to stellar; standouts include Butch Flowers as a reckless young playboy and Richard Reiten as the venerable Judge Wargrave.

The show moves along at a nice brisk clip, save for a few scenes in which speechifying actors chew their British accents into pulpy, consonant-dropping incoherence. The dramatic climax of the play came about midway through the second half, in a frankly nerve-wracking clamor of shouting and gunshots on a pitch-black stage. When the identity of the murderer is actually revealed, it is in a fairly comic fashion—the show, in fact, offers a number of laughs in what should be high-tension situations. Whether this is deliberate, or simply the audience's natural reaction to a somewhat dated production, I'm still not sure—but NWCTC lets the laughs come when they will, without ever stooping to farce. The end result is a charming and surprisingly enjoyable production.

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