Whodunnit? The players from the GW Department of Theatre and Dance keep viewers guessing in the department’s production of Agatha Christie’s 1951 play “The Hollow.”
Set in Sir Henry Angkatell’s study with traditional British decor, the sordid tale unravels during a visit by John and Gerda Cristo, the aristocratic friends of the Angkatell. As the visit progresses, infidelities are revealed and a murder is committed. Everyone is a suspect, from Angkatell to the butler.
Cast members give commendable performances as distinct characters in the mind-boggling murder mystery, “The Hollow.”
photo by Joshua S. Prezant
The remainder of the play is a perpetual murder-mystery brain-teaser. As blame shifts from character to character, viewers feel like they are watching a tennis match. “The Hollow” is for those who enjoy mental acrobatics and not for those inclined to daydream. Figuring out the names of the characters and the relationships between them while tracking the whereabouts of the possible murder weapon requires a great deal of concentration.
Aside from plot intricacies, the cast aptly serves Christie’s work, giving confident performances, even mimicking British accents for authenticity. The cast members also succeed in making each character distinct although all of Christie’s characters are unsentimental self-interested slaves to the upper class.
Maggie Gallant gives a particularly commendable performance as Lady Angkatell. Habitually absent-minded and gossipy, Lady Angkatell also is audaciously charming. She is responsible for many of the play’s humorous moments.
Other notable performances are made by Joshua Rubin who plays Lady Angkatell’s mild-mannered husband, Sir Henry. He is the head of the household and passively endures Lady Angkatell’s exasperating habits.
Jessica Love portrays the charismatic Henrietta, a key player in the elaborate web of love and betrayal. Edward, played by Andrew Adler, is Henrietta’s weepy-eyed admirer. Valerie LaMotte plays Midge, the young dressmaker who considers herself a needy working girl because she is only “half Angkatell.”
House guests John and Gerda Cristow are played by David Lipsitt and Sarah Fischer. John, the disillusioned doctor is also a sleazy womanizer, while Gerda remains his devoted wife and doormat.
Some of the minor roles provide major satirical moments. Movie star Veronica Craye, portrayed by Eleanor Miller, is the leggy redhead with pouty lips and a fiery attitude. She is capable of causing a great deal of trouble during her brief appearances. Gudgeon, the butler played by George Reddick, is sure to get some laughs with his stiff posture and throat clearing upper-class drawl. Michele Friedman as Doris the maid also provokes laughter with her “common ways.”
All in all, the cast does justice to Christie’s “The Hollow.” For those in the mood for an evening of murder, mayhem and mystery with an unexpected twist, “The Hollow” delivers.