A Mystery to Die for

Megan Weaver portrays a character that points a gun at a lying man (CASIE NGUYES/LARIAT STAFF)

Casie Nguyen

Ten strangers stranded on a deserted island, each with their own stories, but can it be told before they die? Irvine Valley College Performing Arts Center’s And Then There Were None. A Mystery Play by Agatha Christie left audiences guessing until the very end and was a sold out success on opening night.

“I liked the play. I’d totally recommended it to someone,” said Robyn Schapiro, 12, undecided. “I love characters and their accents.”

The play is based on Agatha Christie’s mystery novel, And Then There Were None. IVC chose to use the original ending in the play rather than the popular alternative one.  Ten strangers have been invited to stay at an island by the mysterious Mr. Owens. When a tape recording plays, the strangers than realize that they all have been accused of murder at one point in their lives although they all deny having responsibility for each one. On the fireplace is a poem about ten little Indians who all die one by one and ten Indian figure. As each stranger dies, an Indian is removed off the mantel and they die according to the poem as things go missing around the house. The strangers try to figure out the mystery as they accuse each other of crimes and confess their wrongdoings before they meet their deaths.

“It’s a great show, lots of energy and a there was such great audience!” Glenda Wright said after the show on opening night.

Perhaps what gave the play such a fluidity of emotions from horror to humor was the cast themselves. The hysterical Vera Claythorne, played by Megan Weaver was a thrill to watch from her positive attitude to outright hysteria as her time nears. Adding comedy was Phillip Lombard, an energetic outspoken jokester played by Bryan Laverde. Dr. Armstrong and Sir Lawrence Wargrave played by Arash Aiinehsazian and Robert P. Purcell both spoke with thick fluid accents that added depth to their character’s complicated state of mind.

Glenda Wright who played the religious zealot Emily Brent also added to the comedy of the play with her religious reasoning and readings.

Wright said as she added in a humorous tone,  “By reading the script I understood the character  [Emily Brent] that was a religious zealot. I always act like that.” Wright then said, “Our director is a phenomenal man and gave me the right latitude to get into that character.”

Mr. and Mrs. Rogers, the butler and maid played by Eric Horvath and Chelsea Feller, held their parts very well with their stiff body language and silly comments about the guests. General Mackenzie’s (played by Jeff solleiris) acceptance of death as he waited for it also parallels Vera’s fear of death.

The set has an old English feel with a gothic twist in a warm fancy decorated living room. The plush old English furniture, small bars all contributed to the atmosphere. The story takes place on a deserted island in London. Around the set were paintings of the people that were killed due to the ten strangers. During scene changes, the paintings would come to life and start singing by IVC’s talented singers from the grave. These happy songs added an eerie feeling to the atmosphere and enhanced the play’s tone. The lighting was very simple; the mornings would have a brighter light, as nights would dim the lights down as chaos erupted throughout the house.

The costuming was phenomenal for the time period Anthony Marston sleek’s sophisticated navy suite to Vera’ sparkly dress. Each outfit fit the individual character very well, and the make up and hair supported each characters features and age.

All in all with such a diverse cast of characters and talented actors And Then There were None is a play that will leave you guessing until the very end. It is very easy to understand the plot and humor is added to keep the audience laughing as they anticipate who would die next, when they would die.
Tickets are available for April 8, 9 and 10th and April 11 at 2pm matinee. Call the IVC box office to place your orders or go online. Hurry up and order your tickets before there are none.


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