Review: Agatha Christie's The Mirror Crack'd, Original Theatre in association with JAS Theatricals, on tour throughout the UK until 4 March 2023. Book here.
[Disclosure: I received free tickets, as well as a free programme and free drinks for the purposes of this review.]
The Mirror Crack’d is a new theatrical adaptation of Agatha Christie’s eponymous 1962 novel, created by Original Theatre in association with JAS Theatricals. This new version has been expertly adapted for the stage by Rachel Wagstaff. Although it departs from the original text in many areas, Wagstaff’s adaptation retains the essence and integrity of the classic Christie story.
Sophie Ward as Marina Gregg and Joe McFadden as Jason Rudd. Photo by Ali Wright.
In The Mirror Crack’d, Christie’s popular amateur detective, Miss Marple, returns to help her nephew, Chief Inspector Craddock, unravel various murders that take place in her quintessential English village of St Mary Mead.
Photo by Ali Wright.
The Mirror Crack’d provides the audience with all the plot devices that Christie fans the world over have come to know and love; the quaint English village setting (which has spawned a whole new genre of “cosy crime” fiction), the femme fatale, wealthy beautiful people, poison, and the archetypal Christie device, suspects gathering in one place at the end of the action.
Oliver Boot as Chief Inspector Craddock and Christina Symone, as Lola Brewster. Photo by Ali Wright.
The Original Theatre’s production is gorgeous. The sets in particular are luxurious and extremely clever – changing from Miss Marple’s cosy cottage into a very realistic and luxurious manor house with only a few skilful and quick adjustments. In fact, the production values of this whole show are first rate - the sound design is atmospheric yet unobtrusive, the lighting enhances and creates atmosphere and the beautiful costumes and make-up help the actors give their utterly believable performances.
Christina Symone, as Lola Brewster and Sophie Ward as Marina Gregg. Photo by Ali Wright.
For me, it was a particular joy to watch the interaction between Miss Marple, played by Susie Blake, and her Chief Inspector nephew, played by Oliver Boot. Miss Marple, sharp as a tack, clearly loves her slightly grumpy nephew, who grudgingly acknowledges that he can’t solve the crimes without her intelligent observations and deductions. Blake and Boot do such a beautiful job of creating this relationship on stage - it feels so real.
Susie Blake as Miss Marple and Oliver Boot as Chief Inspector Craddock. Photo by Ali Wright
The Mirror Crack’d is a reliable theatrical night out – most people will enjoy it – Agatha Christie fans will love it.
Here is the trailer for The Mirror Crack'd though I don't think it gives an accurate impression of the show. The trailer makes the show look quite dark, frightening and depressing and in real life, the show has quite a bit of humour and light.
A well done Agatha Christie production, such as this, I think of as the theatrical equivalent of a comforting cup of hot chocolate. And as the nights draw in and the temperature drops – it’s just what we need.
As you may know, the Oxford Playhouse had a disaster on the opening night of The Mirror Crack’d when street works outside the theatre accidently cut through a power cable supplying power to much of the OX1 postcode. With no power, the Oxford Playhouse was left with no choice but to cancel opening night and all staff worked non-stop, under incredibly difficult conditions, to reassign and/or refund all ticket holders for the sold out opening night. If you are planning to buy a ticket to the show, please consider donating an extra pound when prompted to the Oxford Playhouse. Theatre companies in the UK can ill afford these types of disasters, even at the best of times.