I was dubious, too. Agatha Christie? The old white British dame who wrote about a thousand murder mystery novels featuring detectives with elaborate mustaches and things like spats and monocles?
But - hang on - it's not all that. I mean, it IS all that - in just this one play, you got wigs and the Old Bailey and a snooty barrister who literally looks down his long nose at dithering ladies and someone gets murdered with (no kidding) a "cosh" and there's an inheritance of 80 thousand pounds (!) - but it's not JUST all that.
In fact, one of the sorta shocking and rebellious things about this play - we're talking "Witness for the Prosecution," if you haven't already seen that poster all over the place - is that Christie, once again, takes some high British archetypes, and puts them up on the stage for us, and there they are, ho ho ho...
Patrick McCormick and Brian Lavalle
And then she ever so gently cracks the mold that holds these people tight in that model. The shell crumbles, and what, all that British reserve reveals to have a passionate bloody messy inside.
It's a thing to behold, the crafty old lady at work.
In this one, you got your dotty Scottish maid who resents the upstart young male interloper. Oh, what a figure of fun! But hey - turns out she's pretty sharp, and convivial, and appreciates her boss.
And your spinster who throws caution to the wind when a handsome young man comes calling. Again, so funny! A woman over 50 who thinks a man could find her attractive (haha!)! No wonder she got a cosh to her gray haired head. But again... as the play winds on, we find out she was a good businesswoman; she was skeptical of people and often saw through them; and she managed, she did, that unmarried lady.
(Not for nothing, Christie married a man 14 years her junior. Fortunately she didn't get punished with a large heavy object.)
Then, you got your Romaine. WHAT is going on there? She's a foreigner, after a protracted and immensely painful war, so we are suspicious. But she loves her husband. But is he a murderer? Her lines are so unladylike: she's forthright, clipped, still - she doesn't dither or apologize or placate.
Sir Robarts doesn't know what to make of her - and neither do we.
So- there's all this - and then there's a really delightful twist that is just diabolical. I mean. It's a hoary British murder mystery, but it's also a really good character study!
Who knew? I mean, you probably did. But I didn't. And now I do, and so pleased.
Come see it! If nothing else, it is REALLY ENTERTAINING.
And hey, that's a fine fine thing these days.