Sing along at the Masque Theatre

The Masque Theatre presents

Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie

Directed by Jane Philbrick for Fish Hoek Dramatic Society

Masque Theatre, Muizenberg until April 8

Bookings: 021 788 1898 or e-mail: bookings@masquetheatre.co.za

Reviewed by Lieske Bester.

The novel was published in 1936 and was considered to be one of Agatha Christie’s best and most original works. After her death in 1976, Leslie Darbon adapted Cards on the Table for the stage, and it was first performed in 1981.

It has never been produced at the old or new Masque and if memory serves me right neither in Cape Town nor even further afield.

Fans of the Christie genre will need no urging to get their tickets but will be surprised by a number of novelties in the script. The multiple set is creatively designed (Jane Philbrick and Barrie Howard) and used to good effect. Barrie Howard’s costuming is visually pleasing (note the dazzling outfit of Mrs Lorrimer (Sandy Gee).

The seemingly innocuous bridge game becomes a fascinating piece of the puzzle. Admittedly, the play is wordy as most of theatrical writing was at the time, but the storyline will keep you interested all the way.

There is of course a murder – but to say anything more about the plot would spoil your enjoyment. There is no Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple, but Superintendent Battle (Chris Bingham) and the famous crime writer Mrs Oliver (Belinda Batt) are equally thorough and persistent in strong performances, and the truth will out!

The cast is a great mix of seasoned players and talented newcomers, and all the roles are well taken with good interaction.

I always look at the cameo performances which make the difference between an average and quality production. I was impressed with Matthew Seller (Constable O’Conner) and Michaela Richards (Rhoda Dawes) as well as Jeff Batt in two minor roles

Every time I see a Christie play I am amazed by her skill to keep you guessing all along and to invariably get it wrong at the end.

I have read most of her books and seen most of her plays and only once spotted the killer before all was revealed.

Don’t miss playing your own sleuth.