"And Then There Were None" playing at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook is an updated portrayal of Agatha Christie’s Classic Mystery penned in 1943. Directed by Jessica Fisch, the piece competes with many modern day detective series and mysteries. It does not disappoint.
The pacing of the show is quite remarkable and a mystery where you suspect everyone on stage and possibly the audience person next to you of committing murder is one that is successful. This show does not have the time worn “the butler did it” predictable outcome.
The character work is rich with dialects and catchphrases of 1939, which enhance the setting. Each actor is a study in conflicts, both outward and inner while the accusations fly.
The splitting of the show into three acts and opening of each act with a flash behind the scrim foreshadowing what’s to come is a clever technique to whet the audience’s appetite. The director also used the nursery rhyme/poem in an interesting fashion on the set and throughout the script to give the audience just enough catnip to keep thinking “Who done it ?!?” up until the bitter end.
While each actor portrayed his or her character handily, stand outs include Matt DeCaro as Justice Wargrave and Zachary Keller as Anthony Marston. Both of their characters had elements of haughty upper class hateful distinctions but like most quasi villains they compelled you to keep an eye on every move they made on stage.
The scenic design by Andrew Boyce helps to set the stage for an eerie and remote location which starts out looking high society and spacious and ends up making the audience feel closed in and wary. In particular the use of the backdrop projection and lighting of the ocean (kudos to Driscoll Otto for fantastic lighting) sends shivers up your spine throughout the piece. And, finally, the costume design by Jessica Pabst was beautifully done. Part of the reason one attends theatre is to be immersed in imagery and the design team did not disappoint.
Set aside some time on a summer evening to take in this show. While many film and television series mysteries abound, this update on a 1943 classic has every bit of suspense and keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Tickets for 'And Then There Were None' are $45-65 and can be purchased at DruryLaneTheatre.com and through calling the box office at 630 530 0111 or Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000. The show runs through Sept. 1 and a calendar of performances is listed online.
• Mary Beth Euker is a co founder and director of Cricket Theatre Company in Lake Zurich.