It’s almost the prototype of the theatrical whodunnit, and after nearly 65 years, it is still as gripping as ever.
There’s been a murder in nearby London and there is a suspicion that the killer has travelled to the newly opened Monkswell Manor Guest House. But there are a number of secrets among the manor’s first guests, all of which come out while a killer is on the loose.
It’s a story which many will be familiar with but these are tropes which have stayed even through some of the more modern interpretations of Agatha Christie’s work.
Where the surprises come in is the casting and while Louise Jameson aside, many won’t be instantly familiar, all are fairly memorable.
Gregory Cox playing the eccentric Mr Paravacini is a stand out, complete with a cape and an air of menace, channelling the spirit of the original Dracula Bela Lugosi even doing the Hungarian actor’s famous drawn out delivery.
It is a very well cast show with Nick Barclay’s Giles Ralston doing charm and distrust in equal measure and Oliver Gully gives plenty of energy to the enthusiastic but unbalanced Christopher Wren.
Jameson also stars in the less showy part of Mrs Boyle giving a performance of a woman damaged by the events that surround the mystery.
There is probably not much that has changed over the years. I even heard one fellow theatre goer remark the set was exactly the same as previous productions.
But the cast does change and continues to give the show an energy which might just propel one of the most famous theatrical institutions to get to the century.