Regional Reviews: Albuquerque/Santa Fe
And Then There Were None
The actors have fun with Agatha Christie's book version of "Ten Little Indians" and play their parts well, as eight guests and two servants summoned for a house party on Soldier Island. Each has murdered someone, outright or as an accomplice, and each dies according to a verse in the poem "Ten Little Soldier Boys" embroidered and hanging above the fireplace mantle. On the mantle stand 10 little soldier statuettes and, as each guest expires, a soldier is removed from the display. Some soldiers are removed during blackouts between scenes, others in full view of the audience. I have no idea how they did the latter.
My favorite characters in this rendition are General MacKenzie (Rick Walter), Sir Lawrence Wargrave (Mario Cabrera), and Emily Brent (Tina Andrews). Rick Walter is marvelous as the General who nods off at odd moments and still misses his deceased wife. Sir Lawrence is a judge and Mario Cabrera makes him certain of his own opinions. The Coke-bottle-bottom glasses he wears make him look a bit like Anthony Hopkins. Most memorable is Tina Andrews as the pinch-mouthed, holier-than-thou Mrs. Brent, who hides her sins beneath a pious front. I found myself wishing these three would stick around, perhaps to off each other.
Dr. Armstrong (Dehron Foster) and William Blore (Paul VanZandt) think they have been brought to the island to look out for the others. Tall, handsome Philip Lombard (Nick Fleming), God's gift to women, is out to capture the attention of the charming Vera Claythorne (Anna Horst), who believes she is there as secretary to the absent hostess. Anthony Marston (Zach Keane) is a young hotshot who drives a fast car. Thane Kenny and Laura Bartolucci are attractive and believable as Mr. and Mrs. Rogers, the servants.
The setting and the costumes will bring you comfortably into the 1940s. Ms. Horst's gown in the before-dinner scene makes her a match for any Hollywood movie star. And I have it on the best authority that a last minute decision to change her brunette hair to blonde crystallized this central role. Bravo to Sharon Welz and Joe Mancado for costume design, and to Glenn Pepe for the perfect living room set.
Each role is a stereotype, but the action is all in good, albeit nail-biting, fun. Who will be first to die? Who is killing the Ten? Will there be survivors? Will Narracott the Boatman (thank you, Eddie Dethlefs) return in time to save them?
Who cares? Most of the murders take place offstage so it's not too bloody and you can bring the older kids. This play is a tense, funny, enjoyable way to spend time in a beautiful, 87-year-old theater that belongs to all of us.
And Then There Were None is playing through February 12, 2017, at ALT, 224 San Pasquale in Old Town. Go to albuquerquelittletheatre.org or call (505) 242-4750 to make reservations.