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Mystery abounds in Christie’s ‘None’

Maurice Barnfather

“And Then There Were None” is the Agatha Christie play that time

never forgets. Ever since its New York premiere as “Ten Little

Indians” in 1944, having been adapted by the author from her 1939


book, it has never been shunned by our theaters.

But, in George Strattan’s immaculate revival for the Glendale

Centre Theatre, it not only gets a career- defining performance from

Jerry Kokich as Capt. Philip Lombard, but reminds us of Christie’s


talent for combining English hypocrisy with comic despair.

At first blush, the play is extremely simple, though Christie

herself once considered the plot “near impossible,” and wrote the

book in 1939 “after a tremendous amount of planning.”

Ten people, including a judge, an eminent doctor and a retired

general, are invited to a lonely mansion on Indian Island, off the

coast of Devon, England, in 1938. Their hosts have a capacity for

haunting the conversation without ever actually appearing, and, cut


off from everything but each other and the inescapable shadows of

their own past lives, the guests one by one share their darkest

secrets. And one by one, they die.

Strattan’s continually gripping production endows the text with an

oblique tension and is excellently cast.

Kokich is exquisite as Lombard, the masterful and dashing, yet

somewhat uptight, “soldier of fortune.”

The always-entertaining and professional Richard Malmos perfectly


captures the posturing and alcoholic pathos of the detective William

Blore. And Amberly Chamberlain is the ideal Vera Claythorne, the

secretary, all shy smiles and awkward verbal exchanges.

Elaine Rose is notable as the spinster, Emily Brent, with a gift

for delivering rapid barbs that, in the end, are a camouflage for her

own self-hatred.

But the real winner is Christie, who reminds us of her capacity to

write the perfect mystery while exposing the double standards and

hypocrisy of England on the eve of World War II, remaining funny all

at the same time.