‘And Then There Were None’ captivates the audience at Triad Stage
If you are invited to a stranger’s house on an island under the pretense of a lavish dinner party, it is probably best not to go. (Duh!)
I have never read Agatha Christie’s mystery novel “And Then There Were None,” and besides that one Family Guy episode that parodied the plot, I have never seen the play. So, I had only a faint idea of what it was about. When I stepped into Triad Stage’s Pyrle Theatre on Sunday night, I was not prepared for the next two and a half hours. If you are like me and have never read the book or know “who done it,” you absolutely can’t miss this show’s extended run, happening now until Oct. 7.
And Then There Were None is set in the 1930s off the coast of Devon, England, and follows 10 not-so-innocent guests who innocently accept a mysterious invitation from someone named U.N. Owens. When the guests arrive, they find that their host would not be joining them, and that is when things turn grim. After a loud recording echoes through the house and puts them on trial, it reveals the true reason why they were all gathered: They have all been responsible for murders. Broken up in three acts with two 10-minute intermissions, the show was expertly executed and left the audience biting their nails.
Instantly, I was drawn to the set, which is typical when I go to take my seat for a show at Triad Stage. Protruding into the audience, the giant structure (that would portray the room where the play would take place) had sheer curtains wrapped around it. Inside the sheer curtains, there was a living room with a couch, a mini bar, various chairs, a cup holder/cigarette ashtray, a bearskin rug and of course, 10 soldiers figurines, placed precariously on a mantle above a fireplace. The most impressionable part of this show was the set that was immersive. You almost forget where you are as you watch and in the background, hear seagulls chirping, rain falling, thunder/lightning crashing and even gunshots–all while you feel a cool breeze. Adding to the immersive set, the actors never miss a beat. Each performer completely commits to their role and convey the mood of tension and uneasiness with finesse. In my opinion, Mari Vial-Golden (Vera Claythorne) and Phil McGlaston (Sir Lawrence Wargrave) stole the show with their scene.
One part of the play during Sunday’s performance (without giving too much away), there is a moment of darkness and a single gunshot. Everything moves so quickly in the scene, that when the gunshot happened, every single person in the theatre (including myself) gasped and even felt a brief moment of panic. It was like the audience who saw L’Arrivée d’un Train for the first time in the theater, shocking and terrifying. A few people let out a nervous laugh after being spooked by the loud “pop,” but the uneasy feeling lingered in the air as the play went on.
Looking around and even unintentionally eavesdropping on the folks sitting behind me, the only thing people were talking about was the mystery. It is as if we all collectively unplugged and figuratively put our heads together to try to solve an almost 80-year-old puzzle. While I don’t condone any talking during plays, it was inspiring and wholesome to hear the folks behind me get so engulfed in a story that they simply couldn’t wait to talk about it until intermission.
As usual, my experience at Triad Stage was exciting, fulfilling, and I can’t wait to return for the next play. And Then There Were None is the perfect precursor for October and the Halloween season, so don’t miss it.
Performances start at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; and 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturdays. Tickets are available by phone, in person or online at www.triadstage.org/tickets.
Katie Murawski is the editor of YES! Weekly. She is from Mooresville, North Carolina and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in film studies from Appalachian State University in 2017.