We have all of the makings of a good mystery: a large and beautiful estate in the English countryside, a woman of wealth with a new and suspicious husband, two stepsons anxious for their late father's inheritance, several loyal (or not so) employees/wards, and lots of talk of poisoning. In this case it's Emily Inglethorp who ends up dead (not much of a spoiler, since she's the one with the money at play). Suspects include all of the aforementioned people, but conveniently her stepson John's good friend and amateur detective Lt. Arthur Hastings is at the estate when the deed goes down. He calls in his friend Poirot, who conducts his own investigation alongside the local detective. At some point everyone is a suspect, and I heard lots of guessing and theorizing at intermission, which is half the fun. In the end Poirot identifies the culprit, just as we knew he would.
|everyone's a suspect! (photo by Anya Magnuson)|
A few brick structures are placed around the in-the-round space to signify the grand manor that is Styles Court, including a large fireplace that is rotated to show different sides in different rooms. Outdoor wicker furniture means we're in the garden, with more somber period furniture moving in for the indoor scenes. Characters are dressed in neat WWI era period costumes. (Set design by Devyn Becker, costume design by Jessica Moore.)
If you're looking for some non-holiday theater this December, Theatre in the Round's world premiere adaptation of The Mysterious Affair at Styles is an excellent choice that will keep you guessing until the thrilling end. Click here for info and tickets, and make note of the remainder of TRP's 71st season, which includes plays by Sarah Ruhl and Sam Shepard.