Who Killed "Agatha" Christie? is a question that was first asked in 1978, and the play has been successful ever since its West End debut 44 years ago. Now its playing at Nottingham Theatre Royal, and is certainly worth investigating...
John Terry is a playwright. His career has been a failure, but he doesn't believe that he is to blame. In fact, he is quite sure that his career has been sabotaged by a critic - one Arthur “Agatha” Christie - who keeps giving him terrible reviews. To make matters worse, Arthur's husband, Brian, and John's wife, Jo, have also been having an affair...
John is obsessed with getting his rightful revenge and in doing so sets up a trap so cunning and ingenious that it could even outfox Agatha Christie herself. He invites Arthur to meet with him to confront the cheating lovers and uncover the truth.
The plot twists and turns throughout the play online any other that I've seen before and, as motivations and allegiances are uncovered, audience members may struggle to know who to side with in comedy-thriller that has kept theatre-goers guessing, and laughing, for almost half a century.
It's an extremely complex play which works brilliantly as a two-hander - with two talented actors. It explores the different elements and plot devices that make for great thrillers with references to great works of fiction coming so quickly and thick you may not keep up with them all. It's been brilliantly written.
It's an extremely complex play which works brilliantly as a two-hander
The two characters are not easy to read refusing to conform to archetypal roles. They are complicated and complex... especially John, who is portrayed superbly by John Goodrum. David Gilbrook has much less to do, but still performs excellently. We never get to see the wife Jo, the adulterer. We only hear her talking to Brian her ally in forbidden passion.
John and Arthur are long standing enemies - even if Arthur cannot remember that they are, or even knows why. John is unhinged, but also calculating, consumed by anger for Arthur. Arthur is seemingly unaware of John, and mostly ignorant of the world around him, and the feelings and emotions of people in general... he is the archetypal hard nosed critic.
As the play progresses multiple layers are peeled back and things change to reveal new realities and truths. And this play is unique, quite honestly one of a kind. Audiences will be very unlikely to guess the ending or indeed the twists and turns as they watch the play. Many gasps were heard amongst the audience tonight!
Considering the theme of this particular play, would I dare to write a negative review? Thankfully I don’t need to.
Tuesday 12 to Saturday 16 July Who Killed “Agatha” Christie? is at Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 16 July
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