Review: Go Back For Murder @ New Theatre
The Agatha Christie Theatre Company is now in its eighth year. Many tours and trips to Cardiff have happened and have become a staple for the New’s programme.
I’ve enjoyed many performances from them; The Hollow, The Unexpected Guest, And Then There Were None amongst others, are in this list and have proven to be great night’s out at the theatre. As for Go Back For Murder, it didn’t quite live up to the expectations from seeing the previous fair. There is no doubt Christie is indeed a good writer, but is she a great one?
Based on the Queen of Crime’s play Five Little Pigs (the novel features Hercule Poirot in it, but strangely the play does not), the story here is of Miss Williams. She is adamant that her mother did not commit murder twenty years ago. She approaches Justin Fogg, played by Ben Nealon, a young solicitor to open up the cold case. What follows is a series of events that do in fact prove she was innocent. This isn’t really a spoiler since it’s the idea running behind the whole story arch. But who is the killer? Which one of these in the collection of characters could have killed her mother’s partner?
The first act is quite dull and just consisted of a lot of talk with people of the law. It remained quite static even when going from location to location. The second act had much more interest for the audience to focus on. In the second half, the characters arrive at the location of the crime to go through the series of events. What starts of as a re-enactment, very quickly turns into the actual events coming to life once more. Throughout these shifts, the audience was blinded by the flash of an old camera, those sticks that would be held up when having a photo taken. It was as if we were being pestered by the paparazzi and they just wouldn’t leave us alone.
Lisa Goddard as Miss Williams spent most of her time in a Mondrian-styled dress, very much of its time. This is one of Aggie's last plays and had a 60s theme through it. The dress is the summation of this. Goddard tired her best at a Canadian accent, yet half the time the delivery was more like a school girl attempting the accent with a mouth full of toffees speaking excitedly about going to the fair. Accents are hard, I know. Even the other characters in the play thinks she is American, such are the similarities to the accents (I have made that grave mistake before being in the company of Canadians). I asked for her autograph afterwards (I haven’t bothered doing this for years). Her wide-eyed expression had me transfixed as she spoke of how much of a generous audience were.
This was a bog-standard murder mystery. There’s not a lot you can get out of murders that happened decades before. The drama is lost. The emotion bereft. I guess that’s why I never watched Cold Case on the TV. If you’re in the guessing mood for a whodunit, then this is the ticket for you. But with not so many in a list of suspicious characters, you might find yourself surprised at guessing the actual killer.
Perhaps I’ll scream bloody murder about their next productionâ€¦