PRINCETON, NJ – You know you’re in for a treat with super sleuth Agatha Christie at the helm. Princeton Summer Theatre put on an entertaining production of the play through July 23.
Although it’s too late to see this show, upcoming offerings include “The Crucible, July 27-Aug. 6th and “Appropriate,” Aug. 10 - 20th.
Here we have the drawing room of an English manor, where the eccentric Clarissa discovers a dead body. Various suspects are drawn into the action, through an intricate plot of deceptions and lies.
The cast, under the clear direction of C. Luke Soucy, gamely takes on this convoluted tale. Abby Melick as Clarissa, is the dominant figure, married to Henry (Ross Barron) and step mother to the high energy teenager, Pippa (Meagan Raker.)
Melick perfectly captures the forthright role, doing her best to protect others while inventing outlandish explanations for the dead body as she is interrogated by the Inspector.
She is abetted by Christopher Damen as Sir Rowland, Peter Giovine as Jeremy and Pablo Milla as both Hugo and Oliver. Alex Vogelsang is Mss Peake, usually out gardening, but comes in for her own interpretation of suspicious events. Lydia Watt is Elgin, the maid \who we can’t quite trust.
The handsome set of Copplestone Court, the Hailsham- Browns’ estate in Kent, was designed by Joseph Haggerty. Lighting by Alex Mannix, costumes by Julia Peiperl and sound effects by Naveen Bhatia all lend a certain murderous atmosphere to the proceedings.
Some actors tried a little too hard for British accents, which interfered with a solid understanding of what was going on. Melick, however, provided a toned down upper crust approach, which made her dialogue especially clear.
Still, this was a fascinating romp through one of Christie’s mysteries that has been overshadowed by “The Mousetrap,” “Witness for the Prosecution” and other staples of her prolific output.
To learn more about Princeton Summer Theatre, which is located in the Murray Hamilton Theatre on the Princeton campus, call 732-997-0205 or visit princetonsummertheater.org/tickets.